Allergy attacks are aggravating, irritating and painful. Sneezing, coughing and red swollen eyes can make it difficult to work or enjoy life. What do you do when allergies attack? You gather information and then take action. Here is what you need to know.
Identify the Cause of the Allergy
When you have an allergy attack try to identify the cause of the allergy. Sometimes the answer comes easily if you have an allergy to specific foods or pets. It may be less clear if you are allergic to pollen, ragweed, trees and other outdoor sources. However, if you can figure out what triggers your allergy attacks it will make the symptoms easier to treat.
Many allergy irritants are found inside the home. Dust, mold, and chemicals can cause the indoor environment to be worse for allergies than the outdoor environment. Dirty filters on air conditioners and the ducts in central air conditioning and heating systems can be clogged with dust and dirt. It’s important to consider whether these irritants are causing allergy attacks and rid the home of them.
Try to Avoid the Cause of the Allergy
If your allergies are irritated by outside sources, consider taking the following steps:
- Don’t go outside when the pollen count is high. TV meteorologists usually announce this on the morning and nightly news, or you can check the National Allergy Map.
- Don’t hang laundry on outdoor clotheslines when the pollen count is high.
- Keep your doors and windows closed.
- Don’t bring outside flowers or plants indoors.
- Remove shoes and coats before coming into the house to avoid tracking pollen indoor.
- Avoid doing yard work or wear a mask when you do.
If you have determined that your allergies are irritated by indoor sources, consider taking the following steps:
- Have your carpets professionally cleaned once a year.
- Use mattress covers to contain dust mites.
- Clean all ceiling fans so that dust isn’t spread through the air when they are used.
- Have central heating and air conditioning ducts cleaned professionally.
- Avoid using chemical cleaners in the home. Use natural products instead.
- Clean dust and dirt from window blinds.
- When the pollen count isn’t high, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate through the house.
- Use an air cleaner or air purifier.
- Use hypoallergenic pillows on your bed.
How Do You Treat Allergies?
There are many ways to treat allergies depending upon their severity. Here are some of the treatment options available to you.
- Over-the-counter medications can help. When your body is allergic to something it produces a substance called “histamines” that cause itching, swelling and sneezing. Antihistamines stop the histamines in your body from working, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. Decongestants relieve the swelling in your nose so that it is easier to breathe. Eye drops can reduce the itching, redness and swelling in your eyes.
- Steroids can be used when over-the-counter medications don’t work. Steroids open up the airways in the body, from the lungs to the nose and throat. An allergist may recommend steroid injections based on the severity of your allergies.
- Allergy shots address a wide range of chronic allergies from food and grass to pets and bee stings. Called immunotherapy, allergy shots are administered by an allergist at regular intervals and varying doses until you develop an immunity to the cause of the allergy.
If you have allergies that are difficult to treat, or you don’t know what is causing your allergy attacks, make an appointment to see one of our allergists. They are trained to sort out what you are allergic too and then get you on an effective treatment plan. You can stop sneezing once you know what your allergies are!