Sneezing, a stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes are par for the course during Carolina spring and summer. While your sinuses may drive you indoors to avoid common allergens like tree and grass pollen, your house is far from a safe zone.
Every room can be harboring potential “invaders” who can make you miserable and cause allergy problems. In fact, your home is a prime location for some of the most common allergens such as: dust mites, mold and animal dander.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergic rhinitis—sometimes called hay fever— affects between 10 and 30 percent of the entire world population. This represents more than 11 million visits to physician offices.
In addition, 13 percent of those in the United States who are 18 and over have sinusitis.
But how can you make your home allergy-free, and how do allergens get inside? We’ve got the answers, along with reasons why an internal medicine physician in Raleigh is the perfect health care provider to relieve your allergy problems.
What Could Be Causing Allergies in My House?
You may think that allergens such as pollen and ragweed stay outside, but that’s not necessarily the truth. Any time you come in from being outdoors or leave the windows open or even walk the dog, you’re putting out the welcome mat for these allergens.
Following these four steps can eliminate a lot of these environmental problems and make your home an allergy-free zone.
1. Keep the outdoors where they belong: outdoors
A breath of fresh air isn’t so fresh when it’s carrying tiny grains of pollen. Keeping windows and doors shut during allergy season will help, but they are not the only way pollen enters your home. Tiny particles can hitch a ride on your pet’s fur or even your clothes!
Your shoes, socks, and pants can also bring grass, weed and tree pollen inside. As soon as possible, change clothes after being outside.
It’s also a good idea to have curtains that are easily washable, and, if possible, avoid carpet that can capture and hide tiny allergens.
2. Mite-proof your bedding
Dust mites feed off the tiny flakes of skin that people normally shed each day. An average adult sheds 1.5 grams of skin a day—enough to feed one million dust mites!
You won’t be able to see dust mites—they’re microscopic—so preventative measures are vital. Experts suggest:
- Washing all bedding weekly in water that is 77 degrees Fahrenheit
- Steam cleaning or shampooing carpet once a year
- Dusting furniture before you vacuum
- Using a HEPA filter
- Avoiding overstuffed furniture, which collects dust and attracts mites
- Reducing the humidity in your home—dust mites love humidity of about 70 to 80 percent
One of the best defenses is mite-proof bedding that covers your mattresses and box springs. Synthetic material will repel dust mites more than feathers or wool.
3. Clean, clean, clean
Every time you eliminate clutter or clean your carpet, you’re keeping allergens from spreading throughout your home. This ensures that dust, pollen, and pet dander don’t build up.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. This filter forces particles through a small mesh, trapping pet dander, pollen, and other allergens. Keep knick-knacks and clutter to a minimum because these items are dust magnets.
4. Don’t forget your furry friends
As much as Fido may not like it, it’s important to give him a good bath to rid his fur of any allergen hitchhikers and keep pet dander under control. It also helps to keep fur trimmed.
Remember that just because you have an allergic reaction doesn’t mean that your pet is the issue. Often people think they are allergic to their pets when they may be reacting to other items—such as pollen—that the pet has brought into the house. Allergy testing can provide the answers you need.
Other Useful Tips
Track down and destroy mold
Mold and mildew are chief allergy offenders. Remember to keep your home dry, fix any leaks, and turn off your humidifiers, especially if you have condensation on windows. Avoid putting carpet in the basement, but if you do, be sure to use a dehumidifier.
Discover the source of your allergies
Of course, keeping your home effectively allergy-proof depends upon what exactly you’re allergic to–and often, it may not be what you think. Through allergy skin testing and immunotherapy, you can pinpoint the source of your allergy problems, enabling you to implement the technique that will be the most effective.
Does Immunotherapy Work for Allergies?
Yes, immunotherapy is very effective and can be a wonderful solution—especially if over-the-counter and prescription medications have not provided satisfactory results.
How Does Immunotherapy Work?
First, we have to determine what you are allergic to because this will help us tailor a treatment that will be most effective. We’ll carefully examine your symptoms, and it would help us if you’d let us know what seems to “trigger” them or make them worse.
Sometimes, we’ll give you a skin test or a blood test. We examine these to help us determine the course of your allergies.
Then, we create a substance of purified allergen extracts, which we administer in a series of immunotherapy “allergy shots.” These small injections desensitize your immune system so it won’t go into “overdrive” when it encounters these allergens.
We’re happy to report that many of our patients say immunotherapy has made all the difference in the world—most have seen a complete remission of their allergy symptoms.
Want to Learn More About Allergies? Check Out Our Other Articles
Internal medicine physicians in Raleigh—like the experts at Raleigh Medical Group—understand how all the systems in the body work together. This places us in a unique position to help those who have chronic allergies.
We’ve got the resources you need to learn more about this condition and things that can help you manage your symptoms. Read our previous blog posts:
Raleigh Medical Group Is the Provider of Choice for Allergy Treatment
As the premier internal medicine practice in Raleigh and the Triangle area, we have dedicated our resources toward helping you live a healthier life, whether that means getting rid of troublesome allergies or re-examining your nutrition through our dietitian.
The bottom line? We care about your health and well-being. After all, we’ve been members of the community for more than 45 years.
Contact us today to discover how you can get allergy relief. It’s easy to schedule an appointment.
For more than 45 years, Raleigh Medical Group has served as the Triangle area’s premier internal medicine provider. Comprised of three distinct practices: Raleigh Medical Group, Cary Medical Group and Raleigh Adult Medicine, we tailor our treatments to provide the finest personalized health care available for each stage of your adult life. Contact us to schedule an appointment.