Allergies are a condition that can complicate something as simple as living at home. The problem is that it can be difficult to avoid things that can cause simple allergy symptoms to life-threatening emergencies. Since it’s not possible for everyone who has allergies to live right next to a hospital, the best option is to optimize the home environment.
It may not be possible to eliminate every possible allergen that causes mild allergies, but identifying specific triggers of severe allergies that can exist in the home is imperative. Yet, even simple allergens can be prevented with a home that is in a generally clean and hygienic state.
In what follows, we’ll be sharing several helpful and effective tips concerning the management of allergies in an at-home environment. These tips can assist in full-proofing the home to ensure emergencies are avoided and optimal health and wellness are promoted.
Learning to Manage Your Allergies
Learning to manage your allergies can help you lead a healthier and more enjoyable life. Getting the proper diagnosis is important, as bad allergies can severely limit your quality of life and negatively impact your overall health. To start, consider seeing a primary care doctor. They can discuss your symptoms and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific situation. They can also refer you to specialists if necessary.
Identifying your allergens
Identifying your allergens can help you manage your allergies and avoid the symptoms that are causing you discomfort. If you are allergic to certain plants, animals, or food additives, you must learn to identify and avoid the triggers. However, it is not always possible to avoid them completely.
Identifying your allergens is the first step in managing your allergies. A board-certified allergist can help you determine your triggers and provide an effective treatment plan. The allergist will conduct allergy skin testing to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms. During the same visit, the allergist can help you change your environment to minimize your exposure to triggers.
Taking OTC allergy medications
OTC allergy medications can help manage symptoms and relieve runny noses and watery eyes. However, some of these medications can cause drowsiness. Nasal sprays may also help, though they can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Liquid antihistamines can also help alleviate symptoms.
Although OTC allergy medication can help manage your symptoms, they are not recommended as a permanent cure. However, they can provide short-term relief and are more budget-friendly than a trip to the doctor. They may also train your body to fight your allergies better. For more information, talk to your doctor or allergist.
Getting allergy shots
Getting allergy shots is an effective way to manage allergies. Allergists make a specialized mix of allergenic extracts that help patients combat their symptoms. The dose is adjusted based on the individual’s history and skin test results. Once an effective dosage is achieved, the patient will receive shots monthly for up to five years. In the long run, allergy shots should reduce or eliminate allergic symptoms. However, if your symptoms continue to worsen after this initial phase, you should consider other treatment options.
Before you get an allergy shot, talk to your doctor about the side effects. These may include itchy eyes, runny nose, or tight throat. You should call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms. Symptoms usually subside within four to eight hours.
Cleaning your home to reduce allergens
If you have allergies, cleaning your home to reduce allergens can help—some steps you can take include encasing pillows in dust-mite-proof covers and washing bedding in hot water. You should also remove comforters, blankets, and pillows and replace them with synthetic bedding.
You should avoid air-drying your laundry because it can pick up allergens. Instead, use washable microfiber cloths when cleaning. Microfiber cloths are more absorbent and capture allergens better than other materials. You can also use a damp mop and cloth to clean your floors. You should also use a mask when cleaning to reduce your exposure to allergens. Also, using unscented and dye-free cleaning products in your home is important.
Tips for Managing Allergies At Home
Living with an allergy or allergies, however mild, can prove to be a difficulty. Should the allergy or allergies be severe, the result could be more than a mere hindrance and can lead to significant issues. Thus, maintaining a healthy home living environment will be the way to prevent these problems.
While many environments outside the home that are traveled through on a day-to-day basis can’t be controlled, the home environment can be, so it should. The following are some methods of control:
Maintain a Clean Environment
One of the most common types of allergies are those caused by dust, mold, and other bacterial pollutants frequently found in an unclean home. Eliminating these allergens is of the utmost importance for those with such allergies.
By prioritizing a daily tidy and a weekly clean of the floors, furniture, windows, and other areas known to gather dust, allergic reactions can be avoided, and optimal health can be obtained.
Ensure Sufficient Air Filtration
Depending on the season in question, some home methods can be used. For example, keeping windows closed during springtime will help decrease the amount of pollen invading the home. And for this reason, cooling elements such as fans or central air conditioning would be a better option than opening windows.
In other scenarios, air filtration can be an appropriate option. To ensure sufficient air filtration, consider using a HEPA device equipped with a filter that blocks pollen from entering the air vents. Like any filter, HEPA filters require frequent cleaning to remove any dust that builds up on the inside and outside of the mechanism.
Air filters located in the HVAC of the house should also be replaced regularly. It’s helpful to set up this seasonal replacement with your HVAC company or purchase and replace these devices yourself.
Maintain a Healthy Level of Humidity
While humidity is often considered a condition to be avoided, a healthy level of humidity can prevent mold growth and dust build-up. Optimal humidity levels are said to be under 50% (typically 30-40%) in the home. This, of course, depends on the temperature outside of the home.
Some methods can be used to increase humidity manually in the home during the colder months if the home does not have a central humidifier. Also, simple humidifier machines can be placed throughout the house, yet these devices require regular maintenance and adequate water to work efficiently.
Perform Routine Home Audits
While daily and weekly clean-ups are sufficient to maintain minimal dust throughout the home, scheduling a more thorough clean on a monthly or even quarterly basis is key to maintaining an optimally clean home environment.
Checking the floors and walls for possible mold and revisiting previously cleaned areas to ensure that nothing was missed is a great home audit strategy for maintaining an allergen-free home.
It may also be worth considering hiring a company to clean the central HVAC system to decrease the overall allergen load.
Remain up-to-date with Medications
In addition to maintaining the home environment, it’s also important to ensure that the medications responsible for managing allergy symptoms are easily accessible and up-to-date.
These medications include antihistamines, asthma inhalers, and EpiPens to be the best prepared for these situations in the home.
Avoid Food Triggers in the Home
Finally, avoid bringing food-related triggers into the home. Even if they are mild allergies, it’s best not to allow those symptoms to occur at all.
One last point about food is to clean up properly after eating meals or snacks since crumbs and debris left over from food can induce insect infestation. An allergy to insects is often present in individuals, creating undesirable symptoms.
Managing allergies and preventing triggers from being present can be controlled in the home. While it involves a level of effort, upkeep, and consistency, the result can be profound in protecting the individual with allergies.
It’s worth considering the investment in time or money to achieve an allergy-safe environment in the home.