NEWARK— As the trees and flowers are blooming this spring, so are our allergies. Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) names May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month to educate people about the causes, symptoms and treatments of asthma and allergies.
“With extremely high pollen counts, this year is especially bad for those suffering from allergies and allergy-induced asthma,” said Joel Mendelson, MD, Director of Allergy and Immunology at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System. “During allergy season, many people stay indoors to avoid allergy attacks; however, some major allergens are often found right in our homes.”
In a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), over 50 percent of homes were found to have at least six detectable allergens present. These types of allergens can include pet dander, dust and dust mites, mold spores, house plants and pollen brought in on your clothes after being outside.
“Though it is pretty unlikely that you will be able to completely rid your home of allergens,” said Dr. Mendelson. “There are ways to significantly reduce the existence of them.”
Below are a few tips from the AAAAI to help reduce the allergens in your home:
For dust mites
- Use zippered, plastic covers on pillows and mattresses to reduce the presence of dust mites
- Minimize the number of stuffed animals kept in bedrooms
- Remove carpet from the bedroom, if possible; if not, vacuum once or twice a week
- Wash bedding and stuffed animals in hot water (130°F) weekly
- Keep indoor relative humidity below 50 percent to decrease dust mite growth
- Fix leaky faucets and pipes
- Avoid vaporizers
For pet dander
- Keep the pet out of the bedroom
- Frequently vacuum rooms where the pet lives
- Wash the pet weekly to decrease the amount of dander, urine and dried saliva
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