If the drip, sniff, sneeze, and itch of allergies have you thinking of buying stock in the company that makes Kleenex, dry your eyes and prepare to take action.
You’re going to wage battle inside your house and even inside your body to reduce the number of allergy attacks you suffer and minimize those so-annoying symptoms. Allergies may not be life-threatening, but
they’re nothing to sneeze at either. Here are 20 of the best ways to protect yourself.
1. Choose chicken instead of beef. A two-year study of 334 adults with hay fever and 1,336 without found those who had the most trans oleic acid in their diets, a form of monounsaturated fat found primarily in meat and dairy products, were nearly three times as likely to have hay fever as those who ate the least. Don’t worry, olive oil is okay; although it’s got a lot of oleic acid, it’s not the “trans” form.
2. Pop a fish-oil supplement every morning after you brush your teeth. A study of people with allergic asthma (asthma caused by allergies) found those who took daily fish-oil supplements for a month had lower levels of leukotrienes, chemicals that contribute to the allergic reaction.
3. Turn on the AC. Air conditioners remove mold-friendly moisture and filter allergens entering the house. Just make sure to clean or change the filters often or you’ll just make things worse.
4. Eat one kiwifruit every morning. They’re rich in vitamin C, which acts as a natural antihistamine. Some studies link low levels of C with allergies. When your allergies are flaring up, consider taking a vitamin C supplement.
5. Steam vacuum your furniture and carpets and include a solution of disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT), a boron-based product, in the water. A 2004 study published in the journal Allergy found DOT cut dust mite populations and their associated allergen levels to undetectable levels for up to six months.
6. Take 250 milligrams of quercetin three times a day. This natural supplement is a potent anti-inflammatory flavonoid, and it is widely used in natural medicine practices to fight allergies.
7. Clean out your gutters and make sure they’re not clogged. Clogged gutters can result in water seeping into the house, leading to mold growth, which can exacerbate allergies. Next time it rains, check your gutters. If you see water leaking out of end caps, flowing on the outside, or dripping behind them, it’s time to get out the ladder.
8. Always run the exhaust fan and/or leave the window and door open when taking a shower or bath. Another option is to run a small portable fan (away from water sources) during and after showers. Again, you’re trying to keep surfaces dry and prevent the growth of mold. Also, check to see that the vent on the outside of your house where the exhaust exits isn’t blocked by leaves.
9. Wash the shower curtain in hot water and bleach every month. Or use a shower liner that you can replace every couple of months for just a few bucks.
10. Keep your thermostat set above 65°F in the winter. If you set it too low, you’re encouraging the growth of mold in damp air. The heat dries out the air, preventing mold growth. Of course, too-dry air can also irritate your lungs and sinuses. The perfect humidity in a home is around 50 percent.