Allergy symptoms appear only after your total allergen load reaches a certain point. To understand this concept, think of your immune system as a bucket. Every time you're exposed to allergens, they add to the total allergen load in the bucket, but you don't experience allergy symptoms until the bucket begins to overflow.
Multiple allergens can fill up the bucket and cause it to overflow. If you're allergic to pollen, for example, and slightly sensitive to dust, then exposure to dust may cause your bucket to overflow, resulting in allergy symptoms even if pollen is not present.
Since the determining factor in getting sick is your total allergen load, it's best to avoid exposure to all allergens and toxic chemicals as much as possible. Even if you've never had allergies your whole life, you can develop them with exposure to allergens over time.
Allergist Dr. Thomas Fame explains: "The more you're exposed to it, the more your immune system one day is going to start to say, 'What is this stuff, this pollen? Maybe it's a germ I should fight.'"
Fortunately, you can take steps to decrease your total allergen load:
- Start with your bed. You spend about a third of your life here, so it's important to make sure you're not continually inhaling allergens and toxic chemicals in bed. Cover your mattress, box springs, and pillows in allergy relief bedding, and choose hypoallergenic pillows and blankets. Allergy Armor Ultra Pillows are a simple and effective option because they don't require additional encasings. Decrease your toxic chemical load with organic cotton bedding. Wash bedding in hot water often to kill dust mites, and consider an anti-allergen laundry additive.
- Clean your bedroom. A HEPA vacuum cleaner is essential for allergy sufferers. Standard vacuum cleaners simply re-distribute allergens in the air; HEPA vacuums effectively trap allergens for disposal. You can also find cleaning products specifically designed to eliminate dust mites.
- Filter the air in your bedroom. A HEPA air purifier removes 99.97% of airborne allergens. Furnace filters and window filters also help remove allergens from the air. Since dust mites and mold thrive in humid environments, it's important to monitor the humidity in your bedroom and use a dehumidifier if necessary.
You will experience allergy relief by avoiding allergens and decreasing your total allergen load, and you can strengthen your immune system by exercising, eating right, and getting enough rest.
Remember: Even if you're not currently allergic to dust mites or any other specific allergens, if you're continually inhaling allergens, then you're setting yourself up for possible allergic reactions in the future. Return to the Allergy Relief Learning Center.