Severe allergies, such as those in relation to nuts for example, can cause extreme reactions and even death when triggered. Thankfully, these are not too common and are usually managed by careful abstention from the offending product, be that nuts, latex or even legume.
But for many of us, there is a daily struggle with milder, but no less irritating, allergens. Lactose and Gluten intolerances, for example, while potentially serious, often cause pain and bloating to the sufferer and some gastric issues too, whereas those with pollen or dust mite allergies often struggle with itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses and a tickly cough. But there are some things you can do to try to minimise the reaction or even the exposure to allergens.
It is difficult to avoid many common allergens, dust mites and pollen are two obvious ones as, where there are people, there is dust and, inevitably, dust mites and where there are plants, there is pollen. There are things that you can do, however, to minimise your risk of reaction.
You can’t rid your home of dust mites, but you can combat them with some simple changes. Making your home more arid and colder will help as the mites love a warm, humid atmosphere to thrive in. You can also ensure you vacuum regularly or even consider changing your carpets for hard flooring, such as wooden floors and thereby removing the habitat for the mites to live in. You should also regularly clean soft furnishings and bedding as the mites can also live in there and cause irritation.
Pollen, however, is more difficult to manage. Most of us who suffer the dreaded hay fever would like to be able to lock ourselves away in a sealed room until the pollen season comes to an end but in the absence of being able to do this, there are some things that you can do.
Keeping pollen at bay
First, it’s a simple but effective one, close all your doors and windows. Simply, if there is no way for pollen to get into your home, there is less chance of it affecting you. If you do have to have the door open, be sure to wipe down surfaces, including soft furnishings, with a damp cloth to capture any pollen that may have landed. It’s also a good idea to wipe down pets if they have been outside and keep outdoor clothing out of the main living space where possible.
You can also use products such as a nasal filter. These small plastic devices fit, almost invisibly, into your nose to assist in filtering out the harmful pollen and thus minimising the risk of exposure.
Treating a reaction
When we do have an allergic reaction, to pollen or to mites, it is important to treat it properly. There are a number of over the counter medications you can buy, including antihistamines, which should assist you. If these don’t work, however, or you find you need prolonged use, you should contact your doctor or medical professional for advice.