Does someone in your family suffer from allergies or asthma? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 60 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma.
The Center for Disease Control found that allergies are the fifth leading cause of chronic disease in adults and the first leading cause for children. Did you know that the annual cost of allergies on the health care system is over $14 billion?
While there is no known cure for allergies and asthma, these conditions can be managed with proper prevention and medical treatment. There are several steps that can be taken to help manage allergies and asthma:
First, make sure to keep windows and doors closed during the peak allergy season. This reduces the amount of pollen that enters the home, thereby keeping the air cleaner.
Second, limit time spent outdoors during allergy season. Exercise indoors to limit exposure to pollen, and shower after outdoor activities.
Third, consider taking over-the-counter allergy medications or visiting an allergist for more help.
Why We Have Allergies
According to USA Today, location weather conditions control pollen concentrations. For people who are allergic to pollen, keeping an eye on the local weather conditions and altering activities based on the weather conditions can be the first line of defense.
- Windy, dry days will mean more pollen circulating in the air
- 50 grains of pollen per meter is when allergy symptoms appear
- Rainy days reduce pollen circulation
- Tree pollen is most common in April and May
- Weed pollen is most common in September and October
Common Allergy and Asthma Triggers
Be aware of common asthma triggers and use these tips to avoid them:
Dust is most commonly found in pillows, mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture. Mayo Clinic suggests using dust-mite-proof covers for pillows, mattresses, and box springs. They also recommend choosing a high-efficiency air filter to remove dust from the air. Here are some other suggestions:
- Keep indoor humidity below 55%. Use a dehumidifier if needed.
- Vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter.
- Install a high efficiency air filter in your heating/air conditioning system to remove particulates out of the air.
2.) Animal Dander
Although dogs may be a man’s best friend, they can cause problems for people who suffer from allergies. Mayo Clinic recommends keeping animals out of the bedroom and bathing your pets weekly to remove extra pet dander. Here are some other steps to take:
- Keep pets outdoors whenever possible.
- Don’t let pets on the furniture or beds.
- Vacuum regularly to remove pet hair.
Mold can be found in the kitchen, bathroom, or any other room that is not properly ventilated. According to Mayo Clinic, here’s how to reduce exposure to mold:
- Wash dishes daily, and get rid of out-of-date food to avoid mold.
- Keep each room well ventilated and dry so that mold cannot grow. Using a dehumidifier may help.
- Remove any mold in your home with mild soap and hot water.
Smoke is especially dangerous for individuals who have asthma. Here’s how to avoid exposure to smoke:
- Make your home a smoke-free environment.
- Avoid places with secondhand smoke if possible.