Get Relief from Environmental Allergens

Health Minute

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For people with environmental allergies, something as simple as opening the windows or visiting a friend who owns a dog could become a very stressful part of the day.

Allergies are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

Outdoor allergens – including pollen, molds, ragweed and more – can each cause allergic reactions to flare up more frequently during different times of year, according to the AAAAI. For example, tree pollen causes problems in early spring, grass pollen in early summer and weeds are the pollen offenders in the fall.

To combat outdoor allergens, the AAAAI recommends:

  • Keep windows closed and air conditioning on, when possible
  • Stay indoors when pollen and molds counts are high
  • If you have to be outside, take a shower, shampoo your hair and change clothes as soon as possible
  • Ask someone else to be responsible for mowing the lawn and raking leaves, which stir up allergens
  • Avoid hanging laundry outside to dry
  • Take allergy medications, if prescribed
  • If you have symptoms that continue for a long time, talk to your physician about whether allergy shots are an option

Indoor allergens, which include dust mites, molds and animal dander, can cause people with allergies to suffer year-round, according to the AAAAI. Sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose all can be caused from irritation to these allergens.

To prevent indoor allergens, the AAAAI recommends:

  • Dust mites – Found throughout the house, they thrive in warm, humid places, such as bedding upholstered furniture and carpeting. Reduce mite levels by encasing mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-proof fabric covers or airtight plastic covers. Wash bedding weekly in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer. Use a dehumidifier. Wash rugs regularly.
  • Animal/Pet allergens – There are no “hypoallergenic” breeds of dogs or cats, although many people think there are. People are not allergic to an animal’s hair, but to an allergen found in the saliva, dead skin flakes known as dander, and the urine of animals with fur. Reduce allergy to animals by keeping them outdoors, but this will not eliminate the allergen. Talk to your allergist before getting a pet to determine if you are allergic to animals, and if so, what kinds. Also talk with your allergist about possible allergy shots to help with your animal allergy, especially if a pet is already part of your family.
  • Molds – Indoor molds and mildew often are found in basements or bathrooms because they need dampness to grow. To prevent mold growth, repair and seal leaking pipes or roof areas. Use dehumidifiers in a damp basement and empty the water unit regularly.

For more information about how to reduce and prevent the uncomfortable effects of indoor and outdoor environmental allergens, talk with your doctor.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.