Knowing that you can do something to take charge of your allergy symptoms is empowering, especially if you've resigned yourself to the sniffling, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes as facts of your life. Butallergen avoidance and environmental control can really change an allergy sufferer's life.
When implementing an allergen avoidance routine, your first steps should include using basic environmental control products, such as air purifiers in the bedroom and allergy relief bedding. In addition, practicing the following simple daily habits will help keep allergy symptoms in check so that you can live every day breathing better:
- Cleanse nasal passages with a neti pot. Most allergens find their way into your body through your nose. Flushing allergens out of your nasal passages gets rid of many allergens before they can set the allergic response in motion. Keep a neti pot, and safe water, within arm's reach in the bathroom and make a habit of using it every morning and any time allergens are especially pervasive, such as after dusting or when pollen counts are high.
- Prevent dry skin by moisturizing. Slathering lotion on dry skin doesn't do as much as sealing in moisture by applying lotion after washing hands or showering. Overly dry skin can lead to eczema flare-ups, and a compromised skin barrier allows allergens to enter your body through the skin. Be sure that your lotion itself doesn't cause problems; choose moisturizers without fragrances and other irritating chemicals.
- Implement a shoes-off policy. It's astounding the amount of chemicals and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and more that we track into our homes on our shoes. Make it a practice to take shoes off at the door, and find a way to politely suggest that guests do the same.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom and off of upholstered furniture. For most pet owners, Fido and Fluffy are part of the family. But to reduce allergy symptoms, it's important to keep pets out of the bedroom and off of upholstered furniture in order to reduce the amount of lingering pet dander. Provide designated, comfortable areas for pets to relax and train them to stay away from allergen magnets. For more on pet allergies, see Surviving Pet Allergies
- Check pollen counts. Knowing what you are allergic to and when and where those allergens are abundant is the core concept of all allergen avoidance measures. Especially during spring and fall, check pollen counts and try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Note that particular times of day can be higher than others.
- Choose allergy-fighting foods. With growing evidence that nutrition plays a vital role both in the formation of allergies and in how susceptible we are to the effects of allergens, learning about foods that help allergies and incorporating them into your diet is another easy way to minimize allergy attacks.