Allergies - 20 Ways To Feel Better-[Part-2]
Filter your vacuum.
"It is very important to not recycle the allergy factors back into your home as you clean," says Furukawa. "For example, you're not doing much good if your vacuum cleaner allows small particles of dust to be blown back into the air as you vacuum." He recommends putting a filter on the exhaust port of your vacuum, if your machine is the canister type (uprights don't usually have an exhaust port). If dust really bothers you and you've got the money, you can invest in an industrial-strength vacuuming system, Furukawa says. Some allergists recommend a brand called Nilfisk, he adds, which has an excellent filtering system and retails for about $500. To find out where you can purchase filters or special vacuums, talk to your allergist or write to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Department CG, 1125 15th Street NW, Suite 502, Washington, D.C., 20005.
Dust with a damp cloth.
Dusting at least once a week is important--but if done improperly, it may aggravate respiratory allergies, O'Connell says. He recommends avoiding the use of feather dusters, which tend to spread dust around, and opting instead to contain the dust with a damp cloth. Dusting sprays may give off odors that can worsen allergies, he adds.
Don't dust at all.
If dusting aggravates your allergies, don't do it. Instead, ask a spouse or family member to do the dirty work, or hire a housekeeper, if possible, O'Connell recommends.
"Dust mites (microscopic insects that are usually the allergy culprits in dust) grow very well in humid areas," O'Connell says. He recommends investing in a dehumidifier or using the air conditioner, which works equally well. A dehumidifier can also help prevent mold, another allergen, from growing. When cooking or showering, take advantage of the exhaust fan--another way to help keep humidity to a minimum.
Think before you burn.
Although it is common to burn household and construction refuse, this may not be such a wise idea, says Furukawa. "Wood that is treated with heavy metals or other chemical-laden materials will irritate everybody, but the person who is allergic or asthmatic will have proportionately more difficulty," he says. "Also, pay attention to what you are throwing in the fireplace." Of course, your best bet is to stay away from the fireplace when it's in use.
Cut through the smoke.
Many people with respiratory allergies find that wood smoke poses a particular problem, Furukawa says. With wood stoves, the biggest problem is "choking down" the stove, or decreasing the amount of oxygen in order to cool down the fire, he explains. Choking down throws irritating toxins into the air, which will be breathed in by you and your neighbors.
Leave the lawn mowing to someone else.
During pollen season, a grass-allergic person is better off letting someone else--anyone else--mow the lawn, Montanaro says. "Find out when the pollination season in your area is," he advises. "Here in the Northwest, I tell people not to mow between May and the Fourth of July."
Wash your pet.
A little-known trick for cat or dog owners who are allergic to fur: Bathe your pet frequently. "There is strong evidence that simply bathing the animal in warm water substantially reduces the amount of allergen on the animal's fur," Furukawa says. "Animals secrete substances from their sweat glands and their saliva--it is water soluble and you can rinse it off." If you're a cat owner and can't imagine bathing your beloved feline for fear of being scratched near to death, take heart: Furukawa says that in an informal survey that he conducted, he discovered that one out of ten cats will purr when bathed. If they are started as kittens, chances are higher that bath time will be a harmonious experience, he says. He recommends a bath in warm water, with no soap, once every other week. In addition to bathing your pet, try to wash your hands soon after you've had direct contact with your furry friend.
Make sure your final rinse really rinses.
Chemicals in detergents and other laundry products can cause skin irritation in many people, O'Connell says. "There really are no mild detergents," he explains. "It's important that the final rinse cycle on your machine thoroughly rinses the detergent from your clothes."
When planning a vacation or business trip, call ahead to find a room that will be easier on your allergies. Ask for a room that's not on the lower level, because a room on the lower level may have been flooded in the past and may still be a haven for mold growth. Shop around for a hotel or motel that doesn't allow pets, so you won't be subject to the leftover dander of the last traveler's dog or cat. If possible, bring your own vinyl- or plastic-encased pillow.
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