Allergies can pack a truly unexpected punch, striking at any time or place. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, animal allergies. They all equate to a world of pain for those who have them.
Did you know that allergies are becoming more prevalent in today’s society? The number of food allergies alone have risen a shocking 18% in children between the years 1997 and 2007. We’re not really sure why just yet, but a popular theory suggests that because we live in such a clean, sterile environment, our bodies aren’t being exposed to as much bacteria. In other words, our cleanliness might actually be making us sicker! This trend implies that allergies are only going to make us and our children feel worse as time goes on.
Those of us who have asthma or skin conditions might expect an even more agonizing assault. I unfortunately have every debilitating condition known to man, but luckily this puts me in a unique position to help others.
Allergy prevention methods range from pretty much free all the way to pretty much ungodly expensive. For the sake of giving you as much information as possible, I’m going to pretend that we live in a communist society where people get everything they need when they need it.
I’ll start by explaining how you can most effectively stop the symptoms of allergies from becoming a nuisance, and then let you know how you can combat them when they already have. Here are the five worst causes of allergic reactions, small and large!
First things first. You know that place where you sleep? It’s filthy. And I mean mind-bogglingly, absolutely filthy. It’s true, some of us just don’t wake up until we’ve had our morning shower. But as far as allergies are concerned, it’s counterintuitive. If you shower in the morning, then that means you spend the entire day picking up allergens from each and every one of the places you visit. You’re inviting them into your bed. Don’t.
You should shower or bathe in the evening instead. At the very least take a short shower in the morning, and enjoy a more serious scrub-down in the evening before lying down.
That’s all well and good, of course, but truth be told your bedding is a festering den of debauchery for those crazy little critters no matter what you do. Allergens aren’t the only things you’re bringing to bed. Dirt, bugs, sweat, and bacteria all habitually find their way into your nest. There are two ways to fight them. First, buy hypoallergenic covers for your pillows, mattress, and comforter. Second, and this is the priority, you should find the time to wash the entire bedspread at least once every week or two.
2. Air Conditioning
Believe it or not, air conditioners do more than shoot blissfully cool air into your fortress of solitude (I call it your fortress of solitude because let’s face it, if you have seasonal allergies and you’re reading this, then you’ve probably realized that you should never leave the house again). Air conditioners filter the air. Cleaner air means fewer allergens, which in turn means fewer stuffy, runny noses. If you’re worried about allergens floating around during the winter months, try searching for a HEPA air purification unit.
Something else to consider: Air conditioners not only filter the air, but they reduce its humidity as well. I mention this because while a dry environment can most definitely help allergy sufferers reduce their symptoms, it can also go a long way toward increasing the symptoms of those who suffer from dry skin.
If you suffer from ichthyosis, eczema, or a number of other pesky skin conditions, you’ll want to weigh which is worse–your allergies, or your skin. And don’t forget, allergies can irritate your skin. Yep, you heard me. If you turn the air conditioner on, your skin might dry out. And if you leave the air conditioner off, your skin might get irritated. And if you have asthma on top of all this? Don’t even get me started. Sucks, right?
3. Furniture and Carpeting
If you have the option of leather furniture, go for it. It’s safe. Upholstered furniture is great for caging all the little allergens that find their way into your home. Any other surface needs to be regularly dusted and wiped down. Tables, mantles, floors, picture frames, sliding glass doors. Anything and everything. Maybe you can afford a maid.
Carpeting isn’t worth the trouble. It’s a safe-haven for anything floating in the air and it’s a great environment for mildew or mold to thrive. And no one wants to go shopping for a special HEPA vacuum cleaner. (Although if you insist on carpeting, this is what you want). If you can, choose hardwood flooring instead.