Minimizing the Misery of Allergies

  • Stay inside when the pollen count and smog levels are high.
  • Keep doors and windows closed. Run the air conditioner to keep allergens out and use an air purifier.
  • Clean/change air filters in your home often. Also clean bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen collects.
  • Wash linens in hot water to get rid of dust mites and other allergens.
  • Wash your hair, shower, and change your clothes after you come in from the outdoors.
  • Vacuum often. Since vacuuming can stir up trapped pollen, mold, and dust, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Wear a mask when you mow your lawn to avoid grass pollen.
  • Keep the humidity in your house between 30% and 50% to deter dust mites.

Severe allergic reactions are rare. The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include:

  • Hives and itching all over
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness or tightness in the throat
  • Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening, so call 911 right away if you experience any of these symptoms. If you have an epinephrine auto-injector, use it and repeat after 5 to 15 minutes if your symptoms haven’t improved. You will still need medical care after you give yourself the shots, even if your symptoms seem to stop, because a delayed reaction could still occur.

The best way for a person to handle allergies is also the easiest: understand what triggers allergy symptoms and avoid them as much as you can.

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