Lifestyle Changes to Manage Allergic Rhinitis
by Michelle Badash, MS
There are many types of allergens; therefore, it is nearly impossible to eliminate all allergens from your environment. But there are certain things you can do to help reduce allergens and minimize your exposure to allergy triggers. Still, while avoiding the allergens may eliminate your symptoms, it will not eliminate or reduce your sensitivity to that allergen, and symptoms will reoccur whenever you are re-exposed.
The primary indoor allergens are waste products from microscopic organisms called dust mites. Dust mites are especially prevalent in bedding, curtains, and carpeting.
To control dust mites:
It is not animal fur that causes allergies, but a protein that exists in the saliva, urine, and skin flakes (dander) of animals. If you have a pet allergy, you may need to take certain steps to minimize contact with your pet's saliva, urine, and skin flakes.
Be aware that you may have to remove your pet from your home if you or a family member is severely allergic.
Studies have shown that people who live in environments that contain cockroaches and mice have a higher incidence of asthma and allergies. If pests are a chronic problem in your home consider hiring an exterminator.
Other tips to diminish pest infestation include:
The spores of molds and fungi that thrive in warm, moist, and humid areas can create allergic reactions. To reduce indoor molds and fungi:
Air irritants and pollutants can trigger an allergic reaction. You can do the following to help reduce your exposure to airborne irritants:
Nearly all allergens thrive in moist, damp, or dirty environments. One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of allergic rhinitis is to maintain a clean, dry environment. The following will help:
If you have allergies to pollens, molds, or other outdoor allergens:
When to Contact Your Doctor
If your symptoms are not controlled or become severe despite lifestyle changes and over-the-counter allergy medicines, contact your doctor for further care.
Advice from your allergist: Rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/public/advice/rhin.htm . Accessed September 15, 2008.
Carson-DeWitt R. Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated November 2007. Accessed September 15, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Purvee S. Shah, MD
Last Updated: 9/11/2012
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