It is almost impossible to avoid allergens however, these simple environmental control measures will help reduce your exposure to indoor and outdoor allergens which ultimately can help improve your symptoms.
Pollen and Outdoor Allergens
It is extremely difficult to control exposure to outdoor allergens, Pollens tend to travel great distances from their original source, and removing them is virtually impossible.
The following control measures are designed to minimize exposure as much as possible and to keep them out of your home.
Pollinating seasons are:
Trees - March through May.
Grasses - May through July.
Ragweed& other Weeds - August through October.
Pollen counts may vary throughout the course of a day:
Trees - pollen counts peak in early morning.
Ragweed and other weeds - pollen counts peak in late morning.
Grasses-pollen counts peak in early to mid-afternoon.
Pollen counts are highest on dry, windy days. Patients should avoid outdoor activities during these times.
During the spring, early summer, and early fall months, keeps the windows and doors closed in both home and car.
Use an air conditioner during the pollen season; this will relieve the pollen to sensitive individuals.
If your symptoms are severe, avoidance of certain outdoor activities during peak pollen seasons may be necessary.
Do not hang clothing out to dry, it can trap airborne pollens.
Pets can be a source of pollen and they tend to collect it in their fur when while outdoors.
Sensitized individuals should avoid hair and fur bearing animals. dander, hair and saliva are all sources of pet allergens, so if at all possible keep pets out of the home.
Cat and dog allergens can remain in the air and in settled dust for long periods of time and unfortunately you may not notice any difference or benefits of removing pets from your home for several weeks until the allergens dissipate.
If you are unable to remove pets from your home, you may find the following measures to be helpful but not curative by any means.
Air cleaners can help reduce airborne cat and dog allergen levels and should be used in any areas of the home that pets have access to. It is recommended that air cleaners be used in the bedroom and living room.
Dust mites are microscopic eight-legged creatures that are closely related to ticks and spiders. They can thrive in warm, humid areas and live primarily off the scales of human skin.
Newer energy efficient homes tend to have higher indoor temperature and humidity levels due to reduced ventilation. Dust mites will breed in areas like mattresses, pillows, bedding, carpet, upholstered furniture and stuffed animals. So, your bedroom should be the first area to focus on.
Bed: mattress, box spring and pillows should be covered with allergy resistant protective covers. Vinyl and plastic are sufficient but are not as
durable and comfortable as airtight cloth covers.
Bedding: wash all bed linens in a hot water at a minimum temperature of 130 degrees or so at least once every 2 weeks.
Dust collectors: Avoid unnecessary items that are made from fabric like stuffed animals if possible (stuffed animals can be placed in a freezer for 12 hours every 2 weeks to kill dust mites), extra pillows, comforters with down or feather and heavy drapes should be removed from the bedroom. Remove stuffed furniture. Avoid wall pennants and other fabric from the room.
Dust: Carefully dust with a damp rag once or twice a week.
Humidification: Avoid the use of humidifiers and vaporizers in bedrooms. Use dehumidifiers in a basement and in the rest of the house during the summer month. Try to keep the humidity levels below 45%, low humidity will kill most of the dust mites.
Floors: Hard surface floors that can be damp dusted are preferable. If carpet cannot be avoided the following options are available.
Vacuum with effective HEPA filter twice per week.
Vacuum cleaner with electrostatic filter if HEPA filter is not available.
Use a dust mite pesticide such as Acarasan. A tannic acid solution will also help break down dust mite allergens.
Closets: Should be used for clothing only.
Air Cleaners: Dust mite allergens are carried on large particles that settle rapidly out of the air, so air cleaners probably offer little or no benefit.
Pets: Remove pets from the bedrooms, pets shed skin dander which dust mites thrive on.
Allergy to cockroaches is extremely
Common. Cockroaches can be found in schools, office buildings and can even go undetected in the home.
Cockroach allergens can be found in body parts, feces and in other cockroach secretions. They are common triggers for asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Use the following measures to eradicate cockroaches from your home:
Have your home professionally exterminated.
Use roach bait and traps.
Clean thoroughly after extermination.
Remove water sources.
Seal cracks and other entry points in your home.
Clean your kitchen after cooking.
Store all food in sealed containers (including pet foods).
Wash dirty dishes immediately after eating.
Restrict meals and snacks to one or two areas in your home.
Keep household trash in a tightly covered container and empty daily.
Clean your kitchen cupboards and cabinets on a regular basis.
Molds are microscopic organisms that grow in moist damp places. They can be found in both indoor and outdoor environments. Molds can grow where there is sufficient moisture and warmth. The most common areas for indoor mold growth are basement walls, floors, window molding, shower curtains, bathroom walls, ceilings and fixtures. Aspergillus and Penicillium molds are most prevalent in indoor environments. You can use the following measures to remove mold growth from the home:
Use a good dehumidifier in damp areas of the home.
Thoroughly clean bathroom tiles and grout on a regular basis using a mold-specific disinfectant like Lysol or Clorox.
Cover all mattresses and pillows in air tight covers so that they do not become damp or humid.
Remove all carpets in basements that have repeatedly become damp or wet and remove carpet from bathrooms and replace with a hard surface such as tile.
Have your air conditioner system cleaned and inspected regularly for mold. Clean or replace AC filters frequently and check the central humidifier for mold.
House plants are not a major source of indoor molds however, clean them accordingly. Try not stir up the soil and keep plants out of the bedroom.
Molds tend to grow in closets that are damp and dark. Dry clothes and shoes out thoroughly before storing them in closets. Keep wool clothing, leather goods, and other textiles in dry closets.
Check all foods for mold growth and clean trash cans regularly.
You should store firewood outdoors as mold can grow on the bark of the wood. Burning moldy woods can aggravate asthma and allergies. Christmas trees may also present mold spores in the home.
Seal windows tightly and wipe away condensation on a daily basis.
Properly vent clothes dryer to outside of your utility room.
Outdoor molds can grow in fallen leaves, soil, moist debris, wooded areas. They peak in summer and fall and taper off after the first frost. Mold can thrive year around in tropical climates. Alternaria and Cladosporium are the most prevalent outdoor molds.
Environmental Control Measures
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