Allergy Prevention in Vancouver, WA
Pollen and Molds
Complete avoidance of allergenic pollen or mold means moving to a place where the offending substance does not grow and where it is not present in the air. Even this extreme solution may offer only temporary relief because a person sensitive to a specific pollen or mold may develop allergies to new allergens after repeated exposure to them.
For example, people allergic to ragweed may leave their ragweed-ridden communities and relocate to areas where ragweed does not grow, only to develop allergies to more weeds or even to trees or grasses in their new surroundings. Ergo, relocating isn’t a reliable solution, and specialists don’t recommend it. There are other ways to control exposure:
- Stay inside with the windows closed in the morning when pollen levels are highest, especially on windy and sunny days.
- If you must work outside, wear a face mask designed to filter pollen and prevent it from reaching nasal passages.
- Take a vacation to a place with minimal exposure at the height of the expected pollinating period.
Vacationing at the beach or on a cruise can be effective—and fun—retreats for avoiding pollen allergies.
Controlling Dust at Home
Dust-proofing the bedroom is crucial for those allergic to dust mites. The biggest havens for dust are:
- Dogs and Cats
- Down-Filled Blankets
- Closets Full of Clothing
- Feather Pillows
- Heating Vents with Forced Hot Air
- Stuffed Animals
- Wall-to-Wall Carpet
Carpets, especially shag carpets, trap dust and make managing it impossible. Contrary to popular belief, vacuuming doesn’t eliminate dust mite proteins in furniture and carpeting. Instead, it redistributes them back into the room, unless the vacuum has a special HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Rugs on concrete floors also encourage dust mites to grow.
We recommend replacing carpet with washable throw rugs over hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors where possible, and washing rugs frequently. Reducing dust mites may mean a new cleaning regimen and changes in furnishings. Water is often the secret to removing dust when you:
- Clean washable items, particularly throw rugs, a lot. Use water hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit; any lower won’t kill dust mites. Be careful to avoid scalding.
- If you lack the ability or desire to set the water temperature in your home that high, clean washable items at a commercial establishment instead.
- Dust with a damp cloth or oiled mop, and do so frequently.
If cockroaches are a problem, the EPA suggests some ways to get rid of them:
- Don’t leave out food or trash; store food in airtight containers instead.
- Clean all food crumbs or spilled liquids right away.
- Try poison baits, boric acid, or traps before using pesticide sprays.
If you must use sprays:
- Don’t spray in food prep or storage areas.
- Don’t spray in children’s play or sleeping areas.
- Limit the spray to the area that’s infested.
- Follow the label instructions carefully.
- Ensure there’s abundant fresh air when you spray.
- Keep the person with asthma or allergies away when spraying.
What to Do About Pets
If you or your child is allergic to furry pets, especially cats, the sad truth is that finding them another home is the best way to avoid reactions. For families attached to their pets, that’s not a desirable option. There are ways, however, to help lower the levels of animal allergens in the air, and in turn, reduce reactions.
- Have a non-allergic person bathe your cat weekly and brush it more frequently.
- Keep cats away from the bedroom.
- Remove carpets and soft furnishings.
- Use a vacuum and room air cleaners with HEPA filters.
- Wear a face mask while cleaning your house and cat.
Be Careful of Chemicals
Irritants like chemicals can worsen airborne allergy symptoms. Ergo, you should avoid them as much as possible. If pollen is your trigger, you’ll want to avoid unnecessary exposure to irritants during high pollen levels. These irritants include:
- Insect Sprays
- Tobacco Smoke
- Air Pollution
- Fresh Tar
- Paint During
Aiding Yourself With Air Conditioners and Filters
Using air conditioners inside your home or car can work wonders in preventing pollen and mold allergens. Air-filtering devices made from fiberglass or electrically charged plates often help decrease allergens formed at home. You can add these to your current HVAC system. Plus, portable devices in individual rooms reduce animal allergens.
An allergist can recommend a filter for your home. Before buying a device, rent one and use it in a closed room for a month or two to see whether your allergy symptoms diminish. The airflow should be sufficient to exchange the air in the room 5 or 6 times per hour. Ergo, the size and efficiency of the filtering device should be determined in part by the size of the room.
Be wary of exaggerated claims for appliances that can’t really clean the air. Small air cleaners can’t remove dust and pollen. No air purifier can stop viral or bacterial diseases such as the flu, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
Before buying an electrostatic precipitator, compare the machine’s ozone output with federal standards. Ozone can irritate the noses and airways and increase allergy symptoms. Other kinds of air filters, such as HEPA, don’t release ozone into the air. They do, however, require adequate air flow to force air through them.
Prevention starts with contacting your local clinic. We work with you to stop reactions before they begin.