June 03, 2014
10 Things You Didn’t Know Were Making Your Allergies Worse
Some allergies are obvious -- such as always sneezing when you see a certain flower, tree or shrub blooming. However, other allergy triggers can be subtler, but that does not mean they are any less concerning. Since May was National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, our Hagerstown sinus and allergy group want to remind you of a few behaviors and exposures that can worsen your allergies.
- Nitrogen Dioxide: Do you have a gas-cooking stove or use a gas space heater? If so, you could be exposing you or your family to nitrogen dioxide, a gas that’s given off when you use these devices. This gas can worsen asthma and lead to chronic bronchitis, which is why it is important to always use an exhaust fan or open a window to allow air to flow.
- Molds: Mold spores can be a common allergy trigger and love to grow indoors in warm, wet places. When sensitive individuals inhale them, an asthma attack can occur. This is why it is important to always fix any visible water leaks and clean mold on hard surfaces, allowing your cleaner to dry completely.
- Your Houseplants: While your houseplants may add a little greenery to your home environment, some of them are highly allergenic. Some houseplants known to be especially allergenic include the palm tree, orchid, fern, ficus, ivy and yucca plants.
- When You Take Your Allergy Medicine: Allergies tend to be worse in the morning, which is why it’s best to take your allergy medicine at night. This way, it can start working by the time you wake up in the morning. Otherwise, if you wait until the morning, you will experience allergy symptoms until the medicine kicks in.
- Your Stress Levels: Heightened stress levels are associated with worsening allergy symptoms. Not sleeping enough can also make your allergy symptoms worse, according to ABC News.
- Your Washing Machine Settings: If your washing machine’s water temperature is not turned up to 140 degrees for your water, the temperature will not be hot enough to kill allergy-causing dust mites. Note, however, that this temperature can cause scalding, so use caution around your washer in these instances
- Opening Your Windows: While it’s lovely to let the summer Hagerstown breeze blow in via your window, think about what else you’re letting in: allergens. To keep this from occurring, you may wish to wait until allergy season dies down before keeping the windows open.
- Your Workout Time: If you are pounding the pavement outdoors during the early morning or afternoon hours, then your allergies are likely to be worse than if you waited until later. Try late afternoon instead to give your body time for your allergies to die down.
- Too Many Stuffed Animals: While stuffed animals may be cute, they also are major dust collectors, which can lead to increased allergy symptoms. Your best bet is to find stuffed animals that can be washed and limit these stuffed animals to a select few.
- Your Sleep With a Down Comforter: Down comforters may be cozy, but they are also highly allergenic. This is especially true for the older the comforter and/or pillow because the feathers break down more and more over time. For this reason, you may be better off switching to a polyester fiberfill option.
To learn how Central ENT Consultants in Hagerstown can help you find allergy relief, please call (301) 739-0400.