Millions of people in the United States alone face allergies that cause stuffy or runny noses and sneezing. While most of these cases could be described as mild, some people have symptoms severe enough that they can’t work or go outside when allergens are present. Severe allergies refer to those that interfere with a person’s quality of life. If this describes your symptoms, what are your options for managing allergies? There are three main strategies you can undertake to cope with severe allergies.
Find Out What You’re Allergic To
Many people are allergic to dust mites, animal dander, pollen or molds in the environment around them. Most are allergic to multiple things, but not in every category, and they may be highly allergic to only one allergen, like mold. Sometimes it’s clear what you are allergic to such as hay fever or animal allergies, but when it’s less obvious - you could try a skin test from your local allergist where a small amount of the allergen is placed under your skin and watched for reactions.
If you suspect you have a food allergy, you can try an elimination diet to determine what the trigger is. Common allergens include peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish or dairy. By cutting them out of your diet and slowly introducing individual foods, you can determine your specific allergy.
Control or Eliminate Allergens
Managing food allergies is as easy as avoiding what sets you off. Just make sure you check the labels of packaged and processed foods for possible allergens. Airborne allergens are harder to avoid. Pet allergies may be eliminated if you part with the offending animal, but even if you could give up that cute and furry member of your family, it could take a year or longer to see results. At the very least, keep the pet out of your bedroom, brush your pet outdoors and opt for hardwood floors and leather furniture over carpets and fabric.
Dust mite allergies can be eliminated by using allergy-proof covers for bedding to keep them from penetrating soft surfaces. You should also turn up the hot water heater and wash your bedding in water that is 130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. Control pollen by keeping windows shut and using an air conditioner and mold can be controlled the same way and by cleaning household versions with a dilution of bleach and detergent.
Managing allergies is possible with treatment. Antihistamines and decongestants are popular to treat runny, stuffy noses and itchy eyes. Nasal steroid and antihistamine sprays and the asthma prescription pill montelukast are also helpful. If you’d rather not treat with drugs and risk the results fading over time, there are homeopathic methods and immunotherapy shots that reduce sensitivity and give you safe and long-lasting results. As mentioned before, managing food allergies can be as simple as reading labels and avoiding triggers.
If you have severe allergies, there are several strategies that can keep them under control. By following these three steps, you’ll be taking your first steps towards a healthier year.
To learn more about allergies and how to lessen their severity visit America’s Allergist - here!