Friday, August 5, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Out with Those Allergies!

I thought a lot over the last couple of hours over what to write on tonight's post. A lot of people post "Day in the Life Of...", their meals of the day, and their fitness regimes. That is great and I love getting new inspiration from different sources. But what I don't see a lot of are posts about health issues, like allergies. They are everywhere and becoming more apparent and more complex throughout the years.

As I sit here at work (busy Labor and Delivery unit), I am reminded every day that one of the most important pieces of information we need to know about our patients is any allergies they may have. Personally? I am only allergic to nickel (fake metal) as far as I know. I never had to get the 24 allergy shots when I was younger because I never had a reaction to anything. Stung by bees? Tons of times. Eaten peanuts? Almost daily. Had different animals in my house? Sure, the more the merrier! But having many friends and even past relationships deep in the allergy medications, I wanted to shed some light on the health issue.

You may think blooming tulips and freshly mowed lawns are what's making you sneeze, but the culprits might actually be lurking inside your home.

When you're outside, pollution is tough to miss- factory smokestacks, car exhaust, and even co-workers taking a smoke break can make you feel like holding your breath. But if you think you can inhale without worry at home, you're wrong.

The air quality inside your own home can be tainted with pollutants, mold, and even lead. While you can't see them, they're there-and at higher levels than outside. Because we spend the majority of our time inside, even in the spring and summer, poor indoor air quality can wreak havoc on your health. All those hours of breathing in fumes, dust mites, mold, and more can aggravate allergies and lead to respiratory problems. But don't think all that sneezing and wheezing is unavoidable-there are steps you can take to clear the air.

Roll Out a Welcome Mat

After trudging around all day, you can pick up dirt, pollen, and chemicals on your shoes- things you don't want to bring into your home. Duh. So wage a two-pronged attack: Plop down a scraper-style doormat and start a shoes-off policy. This combination could reduce the amount of dust and chemicals inside your house by about 60%.

Suck It Up

Vacuuming helps keep allergens like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites under control, but only if you're wielding the right tool. Without a HEPA filter, you're just creating more dust and recirculating it all over the place. The Dyson DC28 Animal is great since the filter can be cleaned at home, saving your money on replacements. So, how often should you vacuum? Once a week on carpets and hardwood floors is sufficient. Every month or so, run the brush over your upholstered furniture and hit the floor underneath bigger items, like your dresser. And dust after with a microfiber cloth to catch any particles you stirred up.

Be a Greener Cleaner

Every time you spray a cleaning product onto a surface, you breathe it in. Some dangerous ingredients in cleaners- such as formaldehyde and chlorine- if inhaled, can affect your respiratory system and irritate your lungs. One solution: Make your own cleaner by mixing equal parts water and vinegar. This blend gets rid of dirt and kills germs without affecting your air quality. Or stick to environmentally safe brands like Seventh Generation, Method, and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. For more information on "green" home products, check out Kate's review post.

Remake the Bed

Your mattress and pillows are probably teeming with dust mites- microscopic organisms that feed on human skin. Gross? Sure. Bad for you? For many, yes. More people are allergic to the droppings and decaying bodies of mites (Ick!!) than any other substance, including pollen. To stop breathing in those leftovers, encase your pillow, mattress, and box spring in dust mite impermeable coverings. Look for the word "breathable" in the product description ( Another idea? Throw your pillows and quilt/duvet in the dryer on high for 15 minutes every two weeks- enough time to kill them.

Smell Real Roses

Candles, diffusers, and plug-ins all bill themselves as an effective way to zap odors in your home. And they do, but they also could be doing your health some harm. They can emit chemicals like acetone, formaldehyde, or ethanol. Recommendation? Old-fashioned odor-busting solutions, like turning on a fan or opening your windows. For fragrance? Bring in fresh flowers from your garden.

Get High-Tech Help

You spend most of the time in the bedroom, so get an air-purifier in there. These bad-boys can be beneficial to everyone; anyone can develop a bad reaction if they're exposed to allergens over time. Rabbit Air can remove more than 99% of dust, pollen, and more.

Monitor Moisture

When the relative humidity hits 80% as this blanket of heat as covered more than half of our country, the environment is ripe for mold to grow, causing symptoms like coughing and sneezing. And there are two rooms to watch: basements and bathrooms. Use a squeegee to wipe your shower walls and door, dry towels in another room, and use an oscillating fan-it'll dry the room in a couple of hours. For the basement? Check your moisture levels with a hygrometer like  this one. Then use a dehumidifier to bring it back down.

Refresh the Flow

Your heating and cooling system circulates air through your house. Replace the filter every three months to keep it moving clean air. Have a window air conditioner? Clean the filter and coils once a month to keep mold and dust from building up.

Do you have any allergies??

So take a hold of your allergies and tell them who's boss. Who knows...maybe you'll be able to walk outside and smell the fresh air...without medicine...and on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

1 comment:

  1. great post, im so excited you are getting rid of allergies the natural way!