Millions of people — kids and adults — suffer from allergies and the annoying symptoms they cause. Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to a stimulus or trigger, including things like pollen, dust, pet dander, chemicals, and even foods.
This time of the year, plenty of people are plagued by seasonal allergies — and the good news is, our team is ready to help. With locations in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, ENT Specialists offers allergy testing and allergy treatments to help patients of all ages feel better. If you suffer from allergies, here are nine things you can do to reduce your symptoms.
1. Know your triggers
You might think you know what’s causing your allergies, but many people are surprised to learn they have different triggers or triggers they’re not aware of. Allergy testing plays an important role in symptom management by determining what’s actually behind your symptoms, so you can take steps to minimize your reactions.
2. Change your air filters
Whether they’re on your air conditioner unit, your furnace, or a stand-alone air purifier, your air filters are only effective when they’re clean. Follow manufacturer's guidelines to replace disposable filters as often as recommended — or more often, if your home has a lot of dander or dust.
Washable filters need regular cleaning, too. Add both tasks to your calendar to maximize the effectiveness of your system.
3. Keep windows closed
There’s nothing like the warm breezes of spring to freshen your home — unless those breezes are carrying pollen. Then, the allergens that bother you outdoors can bother you indoors, too. Try to keep your windows closed when trees and other plants are blooming to prevent pollen from getting inside.
4. Brush your pets
Pet dander is a source of allergic symptoms for plenty of people, but having pet allergies doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership. Keep a brush or comb on hand, and groom your pets each day to eliminate dander (and improve your pet’s coat). Ask your vet about sprays or other treatments that can reduce dander and the reactions it causes.
5. Ramp up your cleaning routine
Dust is a major cause of indoor allergies. Cleaning more often and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter (changed regularly) can drastically cut down on dust. Consider wearing a mask while you vacuum and dust to avoid triggering a reaction from airborne particles that get “stirred up” during cleaning, and avoid chemical products that can trigger allergic reactions, too.
6. Eliminate carpets
Hardwood, tile, and other hard-surface floors are easier to keep clean, mainly because there’s nowhere for dust to hide. To add softness to your floors, consider a few throw rugs that can be tossed into your washing machine.
7. Check for damp areas
Mold and mildew are common allergy triggers, occurring even in homes that seem dry and moisture-free. Check your basement or crawlspace and under your sinks — common areas for mold growth. Dark closets are another area where mold often grows. Use a flashlight to do a little inspection, and pay attention to musty odors that could indicate a mold problem.
8. Invest in bedding
It sounds gross, but your house is home to millions of dust mites, tiny creatures that feed on dead skin and other debris. Mites live in upholstery, carpets, and — yes — even your bedding, and they’re one of the most common triggers of allergies and asthma.
Washing your bedding and vacuuming carpets and upholstery regularly can help cut back on dust mite populations. Another good option: Invest in a mattress cover and pillowcases that block dust mites.
9. Time your outings
Pollen counts tend to vary not only by season, but also by the time of day and type of weather. Windy days can also be especially problematic. Before heading out, use this site to check the local pollen count for the Salt Lake City area, and try to plan recreational activities during times when counts are lowest.
More ways to manage allergies
You can find more tips on our site here and on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. While these tips can help, it’s still important to schedule an appointment to learn about allergy testing and treatments that can help you reduce symptoms and even prevent them from happening. To get started, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ENT Specialists today.