Allergy Avoidance

The first step in allergy treatment is always to try to avoid the allergen. The degree of difficulty in achieving total avoidance will clearly depend on the kind of allergy. Allergy skin testing will help identify a person's allergens.

The following are major avoidable allergens, their exposure risks and what you must do in order to avoid them.

Pollen

Exposure

  • Absolute avoidance of pollen exposure is impossible
  • Pollens are airborne and effect you whenever you are outside or when the doors or windows are open

Avoidance

  • Keep windows closed at night. Use air-conditioning instead which cools, cleans and dries the air.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving.
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen count or the humidity is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen and molds may be blown about.
  • Air your home in the evening after dewfall.
  • Take a vacation during the height of pollen season to an area with a lower pollen count, like the beach.
  • Do not use window fans which can draw outdoor pollens and molds into the home.
  • Do not mow lawns or be around fresh cut grass.
  • Do not rake leaves.
  • Do not hang sheets or clothing out to dry.
  • Do not over water indoor plants, if you are allergic to molds.

Dust Mites and Molds

Exposure

  • House dust mites live in bedding and feed on dead human skin.
  • Dust mites require a humid, hot climate.

Avoidance

  • Wash sheets, comforters and pillows in hot water (>130 degrees F) weekly.
  • Cover mattresses, box-springs and pillowcases of allergy sufferers in impermeable encasings.
  • Replace old mattresses and pillows.
  • Avoid storing items under the bed, and dust collecting items should be placed in enclosed bookcases away from sleeping areas.
  • Washed stuffed animals in hot water or wrap them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer for at least five hours once each week or put them in a hot drier.
  • Whenever possible, carpeting, especially that is laid over concrete or in basements should be replaced by hardwood , vinyl or tile flooring, and washable throw rugs.
  • Keep the air of the house relatively dry and cool, with humidity less than 40% if possible and temperature below 70 degrees.
  • Use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from indoor air, especially basements. Empty the water and clean frequently to prevent mildew from growing.
  • Central air conditioning is a good way to filter and cool indoor air.

Furred Animals

Exposure

  • If house pets have been present or are currently present in the home, house dust will contain large amounts of animal dander.
  • Furry animals outside of the home may cause problems. Examples include horses and laboratory animals such as mice, rats or guinea pigs.

Avoidance

  • Keep pets out of the bedroom.
  • Keep pets outdoors.
  • Place pets in another room.
  • Whenever possible, carpeting, especially that is laid over concrete or in basements should be replaced by hardwood , vinyl or tile flooring, and washable throw rugs.
  • Cover mattresses, box-springs and pillow cases of allergy sufferers in impermeable encasings.
  • Use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) cleaner in the bedroom of the allergy sufferers to keep the air dander free.
  • Open the windows and ventilate the house; air exchange can decrease airborne pet allergens.