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Self-Care

Asthma and Allergies Often Stick Together


More than 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” while an additional 17 million suffer from asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Hay fever — which causes sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes — is triggered by allergens, or such airborne irritants as pollen, mold, pet dander or dust mites.

Among those Americans with asthma, nearly 5 million are children, most of whom also have allergies. Overall, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease. Allergic diseases develop at any age and are hereditary. In fact, if one parent has allergies, the chances of the child developing allergies are 48 percent. Those odds jump to 70 percent if both parents have allergies.

AAAAI offers the following steps to reduce the level of allergens in your home:

Dust Mites

* Use zippered, plastic covers on pillows and mattresses to reduce the presence of dust mites;

* Keep a minimal number of stuffed animals in the bedroom;

* Remove carpet from the child’s bedroom;

* Wash bedding and stuffed animals in hot water (130°F) weekly; and

* Keep indoor relative humidity at less than 50% to inhibit dust mite growth.

Indoor Mold

* Fix leaky faucets and pipes;

* Avoid vaporizers; and

* Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50%.

Cockroach Allergens

* Do not leave food or garbage exposed; and

* Use boric acid traps.

Animal Dander

* Remove furry pet from the home to prevent exposure, particularly in the first year of life;

If the pet cannot be removed from the home:

* Keep the pet out of the infant’s bedroom;

* Vaccuum often; and

* Wash the pet weekly to decrease the amount of dander, urine and dried saliva.


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