Respiratory Allergies

Respiratory Allergies

Respiratory Allergies
Dust, mold and pet dander are common triggers for allergies that affect the respiratory system, causing coughing, sneezing, congestion, sinus pressure and difficulty breathing. A cleaning routine that involves bleach and regularly vacuuming carpets and furniture and washing bedding can reduce these irritants. If your symptoms are hard to control, or if the substance that bothers you can't be avoided, antihistamines or allergy shots might be needed.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    To reduce your exposure to pollen:

    • Keep windows in your house and car closed.

    • During allergy seasons, limit outdoor activities on windy days and when pollen counts are high.

    • Keep lawns short (no more than 2 inches high) to minimize flowering. Make sure your yard is free of weeds such as pigweed and ragweed.

    • Use central air conditioning -- or at least a room air conditioner -- to stay cool indoors. If you can’t get rid of your swamp cooler, a HEPA filter may help reduce pollen.
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    Wall-to-wall carpeting can generate lots of problems, from cradle to grave. New carpeting emits chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that are respiratory irritants. As new carpeting ages, it collects dust, which can trigger allergies and asthma. The inevitable coffee and juice spills encourage mold to grow in the carpeting, which can cause everything from sneezing and eye irritation to shortness of breath. You might think that shampooing your carpet would eliminate those problems. But rug shampoos aren’t the answer because they contain toxic respiratory irritants. When shampooed carpet dries, the shampoo residue (containing the toxic irritants) becomes airborne. Once inhaled, the residue can cause shortness of breath and wheezing. In fact, studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have shown that ingredients in rug shampoos cause respiratory irritation and allergy symptoms such as watering eyes.

    If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your house, your best option is to replace all of it with machine-washable cotton or synthetic rugs. If you can replace only some of the wall-to-wall carpeting, start with your child’s room first.

    Of course, replacing the carpeting may not be an option for you. In that case, frequently vacuum the carpet and establish a “no food or drink” rule in rooms with carpet. Air out the house often, especially on those bright, dry days when the wind blows briskly through the house. And instead of using regular rug shampoos, try environmentally friendly products.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Dust mites are the most important indoor allergens in many areas of the world. Many millions of people suffer from allergic rhinitis and other allergic conditions because of them. In addition, they were identified as a cause of asthma almost thirty years ago and today, Roughly 60 to 80 percent of patients with asthma throughout the world are allergic to dust mites.

    Dust mites are microscopic, spiderlike insects. Their main source of food is the skin that humans shed at the rate of about one gram per week for adults. This dead skin accumulates in carpets, mattresses, and upholstered furniture and constitutes the major component of house dust. Mites only need three things to survive: a source of food, i.e., human skin, which explains their scientific name, Dermatophagoides, meaning "skin eater" in Greek; moisture (generally humidity greater than 50 percent); and a warm temperature (about 70°F).
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    The idea that a breed can be "hypoallergenic" received a great deal of publicity when then President-elect Barack Obama listed his daughter Malia's allergies as one criterion the family would consider in choosing the White House dog. The family eventually settled on a Portuguese water dog, a breed that has a reputation for being hypoallergenic, primarily because they do not shed. The same is true for poodles.

    However, cats and dogs that are advertised as "hypoallergenic" are probably a myth since the allergens of all mammals of the same species are similar. The pet's type of hair, fur length, or sex does not make it more or less allergenic. If genome researchers ever succeed in breeding a truly non-allergenic cat, they will surely make a fortune.
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    While a rose by any other name would certainly smell as sweet, don't put your nose too far into the flower to test it out. Flowers may make wonderful gifts, but to a person susceptible to allergic rhinitis, you might as well be bringing a bouquet of weeds into their apartment.

    Flower pollens don't disperse in the breeze as easily as some other pollens, but they can cause problems within an enclosed environment. If you feel that you have to give flowers, choose those with a few prominent stamens, like lilies, for example. (Stamens are the flower's pollen-producing male reproductive organs).

    Prior to offering the flower, perform some simple surgery by carefully removing the stamens. Orchids are another good choice, since they don't readily release pollens. They are used as a symbol by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Dr. Clifford Bassett - How do I know which pollens are triggering my allergies?

    To find out which pollens are triggering your allergies, all it takes is a simple doctor's visit, says allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Clifford Bassett. Learn the details by watching this video.


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    Dust mites are microscopic members of the arachnid family that feast on protein products like human and animal dead skin flakes. Huge gatherings of the beasties (a typical used mattress might have anywhere from 100,000 to more than 10 million mites inside of it) will dine all day and all night in carpeting, furniture, and bedding, especially when these hangouts are toasty warm and frequented by human beings.

    While these ugly creatures can't fly, their tiny fecal pellets can certainly become airborne; that's the problem for people who are allergy prone. When you ruffle your blankets, change your bedding, fluff your pillow, plop on the bed, sit on the couch, or even stride across your carpet or rug, millions of these microscopic fecal pellets are propelled into the surrounding air and thereby onto the mucous membranes of your nose, eyes, and airway linings, triggering an allergic reaction. And don't think you can avoid the problem by holding your breath. Microscopic mite poop remains airborne for about 20 to 30 minutes before settling.
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    The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following tips to help reduce the number of dust mites in your home:

    • Cover mattresses and pillows in zippered dust-proof covers.
    • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (at least 130 degrees F).
    • Remove wall-to-wall carpeting from your bedroom as well as blinds, curtains, blankets, upholstered furniture, and down-filled covers and pillows.
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom.
    • Wear a filter mask when cleaning in the bedroom.
    • Vacuuming and dusting can stir up dust, so try to stay out of the bedroom after cleaning. Also, use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate accumulator (HEPA) filter or a double-layered bag.
    • Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home to less than 50% as dust mites thrive in humid environments.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Use products that protect your pillows and mattresses from dust mites. Their excrement, which totals two pounds every two years in pillows, can lead directly to asthma. You can obtain 1-micron pore sheets and pillowcases that filter the air in to keep the microdust from the organisms out.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

     Follow these suggestions:

    - Zip your mattresses and pillows into dust-mite covers. Similar to regular bedding covers but less permeable, these seal dust mites in so they suffocate and are kept clear of your space. Two things to look for when you shop: pores that are under 10 microns in size (to keep the buggers locked in) and fabric that is 100% cotton, if possible, so it's breathable and cool.

     - Wash bedding in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

    - For items that can't be covered or easily cleaned, such as upholstery or curtains, sprinkle or spray on a tannic-acid solution (found at allergy-control retailers) that neutralizes the proteins caused by dust mites and pet dander, so they won't trigger an allergic reaction.


    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com