Hay fever; Nasal congestion - allergies
People with existing allergies should avoid irritants or allergens. These triggers include:
Controlling Pets. People who already have pets and are not allergic to them are probably at low risk for developing such allergies later on. When children are exposed to more than one dog or cat during their first year, they have a much lower risk for not only pet allergies but also seasonal allergies and asthma. (Pet exposure does not protect them from other allergens, notably dust mites and cockroaches).
For children who have an existing allergy to pets:
Preventing Exposure to Cigarette and Cooking Smoke. Parents who smoke should quit. Studies show that exposure to second-hand smoke in the home increases the risk for asthma and asthma-related emergency room visits in children. [For help in quitting, see In-Depth Report # 41: Smoking.]
Controlling Dust. Spray furniture polish is very effective for reducing both dust and allergens. Air cleaners, filters for air conditioners, and vacuum cleaners with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can help remove particles and small allergens found indoors. Neither vacuuming nor the use of anti-mite carpet shampoo, however, is effective in removing mites in house dust. Vacuuming actually stirs up both mites and cat allergens. People with these types of allergies should avoid having carpets or rugs in their homes. For children with allergies, vacuuming should be performed when the child is not around.
Bedding and Curtains.
Reducing Humidity in the House. Living in a damp environment is counterproductive.
Exterminating Pests (Cockroaches and Mice).
Avoiding Outdoor Allergens. The following are some recommendations for avoiding allergens outside:
Some evidence suggests that people with allergic rhinitis and asthma may benefit from a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, and flax seeds) and fruits and vegetables (at least five servings a day). Investigators are also studying probiotics -- so-called good bacteria, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which can be obtained in supplements. Some studies have found that probiotics may help reduce allergic rhinitis symptom severity and medication use.
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