Avoiding Allergy Triggers

The first step to treating your allergies is to limit your exposure to your triggers. This can improve symptoms.

By Emily Gurnon, Contributing Writer

Allergies are common in people of all ages in the United States. But if you know what sets them off for you, you can work to avoid the triggers and help side-step some of the unpleasant symptoms of allergies. If you also have asthma, avoiding certain allergens can help limit those symptoms as well.

For some people, their trigger may be just one allergen; others may have several. If you are allergic to dust mites, follow the tips below. If pollen sets you off, follow the pollen tips.

Here are some hints to keep your misery to a minimum. Choose only those that affect you.

Dust mite control
Dust mites are microscopic cousins to the spider. They feed off skin cells shed by people and animals. They flourish in warm and humid environments. You can never completely banish dust mites from your home — even if you clean until it sparkles. But you can diminish their ranks by taking the following steps:

Pollen control
Pollen is produced by plants in the form of tiny grains. The grains must travel to a plant of the same kind for fertilization to take place. Pollen can travel in the air for miles. And most of the allergy-causing pollen comes from plants like ragweed, which make gigantic amounts of it. So it’s often not practical to tackle pollen allergies by eliminating offending plants from one area.

Instead, try these tips:

Mold control
Molds are fungi that can grow inside or outside. They thrive in warm, damp and humid places. They are commonly found in basements and showers. Here are some ways you can avoid mold:

Visible mold should be cleaned from hard surfaces where you find it. Commercial products are available to get rid of mold. You can also try soap and water. If simple soap and water doesn’t work, you can use a bleach and water mixture of no more than 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

Animal allergen control
Contrary to popular belief, it is not an animal’s fur that makes allergy sufferers wheeze and sneeze. Instead, allergies are irritated by proteins from oil glands; these proteins are shed as dander. Other troublesome proteins come from saliva deposited on fur when Fluffy licks herself. Particles of urine from rodents can also get into the air and aggravate allergies.

The best way to diminish allergic reactions from animals is to remove them from your home. If you can’t do that, try the following: