Preventing and Coping with Allergies

How to avoid setting off your allergies, from pollen to peanuts.
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Pollen

woman sneezing

Prevention is actually the best treatment for allergies. By knowing exactly what you're allergic to, you can avoid it if at all possible, sometimes greatly limiting your symptoms or reducing the severity of flare-ups. Following are some helpful tips for avoiding your exposure to various allergens:

Pollens

Unfortunately, short of staying indoors when pollen counts are high -- and even that may not help -- there's no easy way to evade wind-borne pollen. The pollen granules are so small and light and produced in such huge quantities, they can be carried for long distances; clearing the offending plants from your own yard does little good. However, you can:

  • Avoid prolonged, close contact with pollens (as well as some molds) by avoiding working outside during spring and summer months.
  • Stay indoors during the time of the highest pollen counts, usually early in the morning on warm, dry, breezy days.
  • If you do have to work outside, wear a face mask designed to filter pollen and keep it from reaching your nasal passages.
  • Plan your vacation at the height of the expected pollinating period and choose a location where such exposure would be minimal, such as the seashore.
  • It may help to use an air conditioner inside your home and car. Special air filtering devices can be added to your home's heating and cooling systems. In addition, portable air-cleaning devices used in individual rooms can be helpful; ask your healthcare professional which type would be best. Vacuuming can actually worsen your symptoms unless the vacuum is equipped with a special HEPA filter.
  • Relocating to a place where the offending substance doesn't grow is not usually recommended simply because the person who is sensitive to a particular pollen or mold may subsequently develop allergies to new allergens after repeated exposure.

Continued on page 2:  Molds

 

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