People with any type of allergy need to avoid those irritants. This can mean making some major lifestyle changes depending on the allergy. Allergic rhinitis is more commonly known as hay fever and is one of the most common allergies around the world.
It can often seem like there is nothing you can do to avoid the condition. You just must put up with the streaming eyes and running noses throughout the spring and summer months. That is certainly not the case, but you will need to make some big lifestyle changes to manage the condition.
The good news the big changes are relatively practical. You will see instant relief from the symptoms and can help to minimize the use of antihistamines and other medications. Here are seven changes that will instantly help.
Control the Number of Allergens within the Home
Allergic rhinitis is most commonly caused by pollen, but it can also be caused by dust mites, pet hair, and other similar allergens. It is essential that you control them around your home. By minimizing them in the home, you can keep the allergic reactions to a minimum when you sit in the house. There is a space for healthy living and comfort.
Most of the allergens in the home are relatively easy to manage with regular cleaning. For example, weekly hot washes for the blankets, sheets, and throws around the home will help to get rid of dust mites. You can then dry them in your dryer with the heat turned all the way up. Avoid hanging them on the line to dry, as the pollen will rest, and you just bring that in the home!
Use allergen-proof covers on your mattresses and pillows. Opt for allergen-proof sheets for your mattresses and pillows over the top of these covers. Opt for natural materials as much as possible, as synthetic fibers are more likely to capture and hold onto the dust mites.
Keep your pets in specific parts of the house and do not let them climb up on your furniture. You may enjoy cuddling with your dog or cat on the couch, but you are allowing the pet hairs, saliva, and other allergens to drop onto the upholstery or in your bed. The allergens remain in the fibers, so you are left struggling with allergic reactions on a regular basis.
Bathe and groom your pet regularly. If your allergy is so bad, ask someone to do it for you. There is no shame in wanting to reduce symptoms. When the pet allergy is severe, you may need to consider rehoming your pet. This is especially the case for children, as it is not fair on the pet to be kept away from the rest of the family.
It is also important to vacuum, clean, and wash your floors, carpets, worktops and more regularly. Dust and vacuum daily, making sure there is no waste of pests in the home. Fleas, cockroaches, bed bugs, rodents, and many other pests can make allergic rhinitis worse, so you want to keep their infestations to a minimum. Keeping the home clean and dry is the best way to do that.
Minimize Mold in the House
Mold is another common reason for allergic rhinitis, so you will want to keep that to a minimum. It is a major health concern, so managing the levels of it in your home is essential to keep everyone healthy. Mold can lead to breathing difficulties and the development of asthma.
One of the best things to do is manage the humidity in many areas of the home. Bathrooms and kitchens are among the worst, as they naturally get steamy and damp. Extractor fans are certainly the best way to manage the levels of steam, especially during showers and cooking. Keep the extractor fans running until all the steam has left the rooms.
If you have any damp areas, like the basement, you will want to invest in dehumidifiers. These will help to remove the moisture, preventing the growth and spread of mold spores in the rooms.
Leaks can happen, which can mean flooding and damp floors, walls, and more. It is important to manage the levels of water in the home. Do not leave your upholstery, carpets, and flooring wet or damp. You need to get everything dry within 24-48 hours to avoid major water damage and mold growth.
Clean areas after water damage. Using bleach or vinegar with water is the best way to kill all the mold spores. If you have had serious water damage, hiring a company may be the best option.
Remove wallpaper, carpets, and curtains if there is any sign of mold. If it is growing through, you may find that the mold damage goes much deeper into the house structure, which can mean more extensive work. Leaving just one mold spore can lead to it returning later.
Use HEPA Filters Around the Home
Whether using a vacuum cleaner, extractor fans, or HVAC systems, you will want to ensure HEPA filters are installed. These are the most efficient filters and will collect more than 97% of the microspores and dust mites within the home.
The filters will collect the spores, so they do not go back into your vacuum cleaner or into the HVAC system. By allowing the spores to collect in the systems, you just end up spreading them around your home. The HVAC system is all connected, so you spread the spores into other parts of the home. You will suffer allergies in every room you walk into. When emptying your vacuum cleaner, the spores that have collected with the dirt will release back into the air.
The whole point of your air systems is to keep the airflow efficient and clean. Filters are the only way to do that.
Make sure you clean your filters on a regular basis. If they become clogged, they will not collect any more spores and mites. You will end up with a broke system that makes your health worse.
Reduce Irritants in the Home
Keep the use of irritants in the home to a minimum. Your breathing can be negatively affected by items that we have just become used to including in our daily routines.
For example, perfume and cleaning products can make your allergic rhinitis worse. Your immune system reacts to the chemicals and your bronchial tubes can end up inflamed. The immune system is already working, so struggles against the allergens. Your body can go into anaphylactic shock if you continue the double exposure.
Keep the use of strong cleaning products, perfumes, and aerosol sprays to a minimum as much as possible. If you really need to use them, opt for a filter mask over your nose and mouth to prevent breathing in the chemicals.
It is also worth putting a ban on smoking in the home. If you smoke, quit now because regardless of where you smoke you are going to make your allergic reactions worse. Second-hand smoke is just as bad as smoking, so request that nobody smokes in the home to keep everyone protected. Ban smoking in the car and other areas that you have control over. If people really want to smoke, they can do it outside!
Reduce Outdoor Allergen Exposure in the Home
Despite keeping the indoor allergens to a minimum, you can still suffer from allergic rhinitis. This is often due to the outdoor allergens being brought into the home. You can do this daily, whether through your own shoes, your laundry, or your pet.
Start by keeping the windows closed, especially on a windy day. When the wind levels are up, the pollen will be stronger and more proficient in the air. There is more chance of spores blowing into your home. You can keep the air flowing using fans and purifiers. Have the windows open on an overcast but mild days.
Watch for the hanging of laundry outside. The pollen and mites will land on the laundry without you realizing. You then bring them into the home and make your health worse.
Take shoes off when you come into the house, and request that your guests do the same. If they cannot (such as workmen for safety reasons), they have covers that they can use to prevent the treading the dust mites, pollen, mold, and other allergens around the home. It is easier than cleaning up after them. If your guests do not feel comfortable taking their shoes off, considering having indoor slippers for them to use to cover their feet.
When it comes to pets, consider grooming and bathing before you walk back into the house. The allergens will stick to the fur, which then sheds and causing the health problems.
Minimize Exposure to the Outdoor Allergens
While preventing bringing the allergens into your home, it is worth minimizing the exposure to them when outside. This will mean changing the times that you go outside. Pollen counts are at their highest on the morning and on sunny, windy days. If you can avoid it, do not go out on days like this. Opt for overcast and calm days at later times.
Sometimes you do not have a choice. When going out, make sure you wear sunglasses and a hat. This will help to minimize the amount of pollen and other allergens you collect and the exposure to your eyes. You can also help by keeping your skin covered.
Just because you get allergic rhinitis does not mean you hate gardening. Nor does it mean you can avoid mowing and raking the lawn. You will just need to act to prevent the exposure to the allergens. Start by choosing your days carefully. Opt for the overcast and calm days to do your gardening and lawn mowing.
Wear a filter mask when out in the garden. This will help to breathe in the air without all the particles, reducing your exposure to the lungs. You can also use good garden gloves and clothing to prevent the amount of skin exposure to the allergens. Take off all the gardening items before you go into the house. It is worth having a small trunk outside by the door to store your gardening items for later use.
Change Camping Season for the Family
Suffering from hay fever does not mean you have to miss out on camping season. It just means you need to look at the best times of the year to go. Look for the times of the year without the high pollen count. The high pollen count time frames are lower than you would initially expect, and you may be surprised to learn that the summer months are safe!
Grass pollen is at its highest during May and June. If this is your allergen, avoid these months for camping. September and October are the months to avoid if ragweed is your allergen.
Find out more about your allergen. Look out for when it grows to help determine when the pollen count is at the highest. You will be able to find the perfect time to go camping with the family, so you do not have to skip quality family time.
While camping, make sure you follow as many of the other lifestyle changes as possible. Keep yourself covered up and take care in bringing the allergens into your tent or your car. Arrange to scrub your boots before you step into your tent or take them off outside. You will also want to keep campfires to a minimum to avoid the smoke irritation.
Lifestyle Changes Are Worthwhile for a Healthy Life
While the lifestyle changes above can seem major and difficult at first, they are certainly worth following through with. You will reduce your exposure to the allergens, which will help to minimize the symptoms of allergic rhinitis on a yearly basis. Your body will thank you and your mind will benefit in a major way. Your children and other family members who suffer from the allergies will also thank you for taking these steps.