Have you been sneezing the house down? Are you tired of keeping up with a runny nose? Maybe you’re fed up with the itchy and watery eyes?
All of the above can be symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Would you like to know more, specifically, how to ditch all of these?
Allergic rhinitis can happen when your immune system identifies certain substances as intruders. These elements, such as animal dander, mold, or pollen, are called allergens.
When this happens, your body overreacts and produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that then travels to cells and releases histamine. Histamine and other chemicals that have been triggered by these antibodies then cause an allergic reaction that comes with symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. It may affect the eyes, nose, ears, throat, skin, and the roof of the mouth.
While seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever may be most often triggered by pollen, several indoor irritants may also cause it. These indoor allergens such as animal dander, cockroach droppings, dust mite droppings, and molds may cause perennial allergic rhinitis. This year-round suffering may also cause asthma flare-ups for people with allergic asthma.
Fortunately, there are ways to effectively alleviate rhinitis symptoms, such as taking non-drowsy allergy medicine, using nasal sprays, and undergoing immunotherapy. While it is a relief to have these treatment options available, the first action that allergists usually recommend is to avoid the triggers in the first place. When the triggers are found indoors, however, complete avoidance may pose a problem.
Here are four things you can do to kick out these pesky indoor intruders and better manage and prevent allergic rhinitis:
1. Avoid animal dander
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, no cat or dog is “hypoallergenic.” This is because all breeds of these canine or feline creatures have proteins in their bodies that may cause allergies. These allergens can be found in their saliva, urine, or dander (dead skin flakes), and not in their fur, as commonly believed.
If you are allergic to pets but are still thinking of getting one, it would be wise if you can have a more long-term solution to counter pet allergies. Short-term exposure to pets may cause allergic symptoms within minutes. For other people, it can build up and become severe eight to 12 hours after contact with the animal.
If your family already has a pet, it would be wise to avoid contact with the animal to prevent allergic reactions. If it is impossible to keep the pet outdoors, then keep it out of the areas you frequent. Urine from guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and mice also have these allergens, so it is wise to have their cages cleaned by non-allergic family members or helpers. Pet homes or beds should be vacuumed and cleaned regularly.
Also, be wary of coming into contact with people who have just carried or snuggled with these pets as dander can be transported through clothing.
2. Chase away cockroaches
Cockroach droppings are considered to be one of the triggers of asthma symptoms. Since they are almost everywhere – especially in densely populated urban areas – there’s a chance that they can sneak into one’s home undetected.
To prevent allergic triggers brought about by these vexing vermin, seal off all possible areas where cockroaches can sneak in. These include leaking faucets and pipes as well as crevices, especially those in moist areas. Call an exterminator to get rid of all roaches, especially if there are spots that you cannot reach.
3. Do away with dust mites
Dust mites can be found everywhere, especially in warm and humid environments. These microscopic organisms thrive in bedding, carpeting, and upholstered furniture, so it is ideal to have these items cleaned and washed as regularly as possible. Linens should be washed every week in 130 ̊ F water and dried in a hot dryer.
Use allergen-proof covers for bedding, comforters, and pillows. Also, use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the humidity low. Similarly, use a vacuum with a high-particulate filter when vacuuming the house. Better yet, people with allergies would do well to hire a cleaning company to perform regular house cleaning for them.
Go for blinds instead of heavy curtains. Get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting, rugs, or furry mats as well, as these can gather dust.
4. Mop out molds
Molds and mildew love damp spaces, so make sure that you fix leaks inside your home. To fight fungi, you have to ensure that you do not have damp areas such as in bathrooms or basements.
Remove molds on hard surfaces with bleach, water, and 5% bleach (make sure not to mix with other substances). To remove molds from clothing, wash with soap and water.
Relief From Rhinitis
Rhinitis can be relieved if you take measured steps to manage your indoor areas. Since it is next to impossible to keep homes allergy-free, the best way to reduce these irritants is to ensure that your house is always kept clean and dry.
by Stephen Johnson