Allergy Symptoms & Treatments : How to Cure Dust Allergies
15 Ways To Alleviate Allergy Symptoms
How The Home Became A Dust Mite Haven
In the 1940s, American homeowners welcomed the vacuum cleaner with enthusiasm. Before long, no homemaker could live without one. But the same technology that made our lives easier has indirectly contributed heavily to one common medical problem: allergies to dust mites. “The vacuum cleaner made carpeting more attractive than throw rugs,” says Lang. With central heating, homes tended to stay warm year-round. Add well-insulated homes and cold-water washes to the mix (courtesy of the energy crisis), and you end up with a perfect environment for dust mites. (Here's 7 ways your home may be making you sick.)
Don’t Buy Into The Allergen-Free Cat Claims
You may have heard the buzz about “allergen-free” cats. Most of these animals cost several thousand dollars, but the experts claim they offer more hype than hope. “I have yet to see any quantitative data to show that these animals lack Fel d 1, the main cat allergen,” cautions Scott P. Commins, MD, PhD. Before you buy one of these animals, he suggests waiting for some solid research indicating they are, indeed, allergen-free.
When To Visit A Doctor
If you have a known allergy and you notice any of the following symptoms, you should see your doctor. Welts that spring up in response to exposure to an allergen, also known as hives. They may indicate the onset of anaphylactic shock, an allergic reaction severe enough to kill. Seek medical attention promptly. Here are more symptoms that indicate a visit to the doctor is in order:
- Wheezing—a whistling sound when you breathe
- Asthma—a congestion of the chest severe enough to make breathing difficult, often accompanied by wheezing
- An allergy attackthat doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications within a week
“If your allergy symptoms are preventing you from doing the things you want to do, or you’re missing work or school, you should see a doctor,” says Lang.
Panel Of Advisors
Scott P. Commins, MD, PhD,is an allergy and immunology fellow in the Asthma and Allergic Disease Center at the University of Virginia Charlottesville.
David Lang, MD,is the head of allergy and immunology in the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Thomas Platts-Mills, MD,is a professor of medicine and head of the division of allergy and immunology at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.
Richard Podell, MD,is a clinical professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway.
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