Posted on July 3, 2010 at 4:50 AM
STRATEGIC CONTROL OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS
- Try to be aware of your allergen so that you can take care in future
People with seasonal allergy tend to be affected by pollen. Those who have trouble all year long are generally affected by dust, molds, chemicals, dander, gecko & cockroach droppings etc.
- when u have the symptoms [time of year, time of day etc]
- where u have it most[office, home, particular room, outdoors etc]
- what u were doing when you have it[cleaning house, cooking, driving etc]
The following instructions help prevent and control attacks of allergy:-
- If you have seasonal allergy, avoid pollen by
Masks: Wear a mask when house cleaning or going out into dusty environmentReservoirs of molds -Regular attention should be paid to reservoirs of molds such as refrigerator drip pans, areas around air conditioner condensers & under sinks, indoor plants, and decaying vegetation in the yard.Avoid keeping indoor plants in your home. Remove heavy drapes, stuffed toys and carpets from your home-they are favorite infestation sites for house dust mites.Pets: Avoid keeping dander-producing pets (i.e. cats, dogs, birds etc.) in your home. Otherwise, confine your pet to a particular area of your home, & always keep them out of the bedroom. Bathing your pet frequently is also helpful in decreasing the allergen load.Air conditioning systems: Clean filters often and clean air ducts once a year.Storage: Store rarely used items such as books, old clothes and other knickknacks in plastic covers to avoid dust and mildew.
- using air conditioning during the peak season
- avoiding outdoor activity during pollen season
- timing your vacations away from home during this season
Decrease allergen load in your Living Room
- Carpets: Carpets and rugs collect dust and are infested by dust mites and their droppings so try to avoid them in your home. If you have to use carpeting, choose low-pile carpets and vacuum once or twice a week. Consider using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner. Go against the carpet's nap, taking a minimum of six to eight strokes over each area. Empty or replace the bag before it is full. If possible, have someone else do the vacuuming. The allergy sufferer should try to stay out of the area for 30 minutes after vacuuming. If that's not possible, the allergy sufferer should wear a disposable dust mask while vacuuming.
- Furniture: Dust frequently with a damp cloth.
- Curtains/Blinds: Launder curtains regularly to remove dust and dust mites. Avoid lacy or long drapes, as they attract dust. Use window shades instead.
- Rugs: Launder rugs weekly to remove dust and dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and mold. Or shake rugs outdoors regularly.
- Windows: Keep windows closed during pollen season. Clean window frames and sills regularly for mold or mildew.
Decrease allergy load in your kitchen
- Stove: Use an exhaust fan over the stove to remove cooking fumes.
- Cabinets/Counters: Keep under-sink cabinets and countertops clean and dry. When cleaning, use a disinfectant cleaner designed to kill mildew.
- Refrigerator: Wipe up excessive moisture in the refrigerator to avoid mold growth. Clean refrigerator walls and shelves regularly with a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Take special care of refrigerator drip pans
Decrease allergy load from your bathroom
- Clean bathroom wall tiles, bathtubs and vinyl shower curtains regularly with a bleach or disinfectant cleaner designed to kill mold and mildew.
- Keep the bathroom door open when not in use.
Allergy proof your Bedroom
Since it is often difficult and maybe impractical for you to fully "allergy-proof" your home, at least make sure your bedroom is as allergen-free as possible:
- Carpet: DO NOT use carpets and rugs in the bedroom.
- Furniture: move out all unnecessary furniture .Dust frequently with a damp cloth.
- Curtains/Blinds: Avoid heavy long drapes or lace curtains as they attract dust. Launder curtains regularly to remove dust and dust mites.
- Collectibles: Get rid of dust collectors such as magazines, knickknacks, and stuffed animals, or store them in closed plastic bags. Avoid keeping books or magazines in the bedroom-they tend to harbor dust mites and molds. A simple rule would be to keep only the book you are currently reading.
- Cupboards: Keep the cupboard door closed. Store clothing so dust will not settle on it. Keep cupboards cockroach free. Cockroach droppings and decomposing parts are strong allergens.
- Dressers/Nightstands: Keep dressers and nightstands clear of clutter and dust regularly.
- Bedding: Check the material from which your pillows are made. Feathers, foam rubber, or pillows more than five years old often have allergens. Use pillows stuffed with Dacron or polyester rather than feathers. Avoid using lace for bed spreads and pillow cases. Substitute woolen blankets for synthetic ones. Launder sheets and pillow cases weekly in hot/warm water and tumble dry. Don't leave wet clothes in the washer. Wash blankets monthly.
- Mattress/Box springs: To reduce dust and allergens, vacuum both sides of your mattress for at least two minutes twice monthly or use plastic covers for mattress and box springs.
- Pets: Keep all pets out of the bedroom.
- Cleaning: DO NOT sweep in your bedroom- use a vacuum cleaner or practice wet mopping
Build up your general health
Given below are some tips to build up your general health and immune system so that your body is better equipped to combat the allergen attack successfully
- Take regular steam inhalation in the colder seasons. Dry, indoor heat aggravates many allergic people. Make sure the humidifier is cleaned regularly
- Maintain a balanced diet to improve your body's ability to heal itself .Supplement diet with vitamins, especially Vit C.
- Avoid extremely cold diet/liquids if you notice you are sensitive to it
- Sleep with a brick or two placed under bedposts at the head of the bed to help relieve nasal congestion and improve sinonasal physiology.
- Drink adequate fluids (eight 8-ounce glasses per day) to loosen the secretions in your nose and throat
- Exercise regularly
- Do not smoke
The above advice is to be followed only after thorough ENT evaluation as there are many mimickers of allergy.
If in spite of adequate medication and preventive methods symptoms increase or fresh ones develop, you may have developed a complication of allergic rhinitis.
Always be aware of the following complications and their symptoms:-
- Sinusitis: [Long term or severe allergy can affect the sinuses]
- Any of the following symptoms may develop:-nasal block increasing & not responding to allergy medications, yellowish/greenish nasal discharge, fever, facial pain, headache, halitosis [bad smell from mouth], fatigue, swelling in face.
- Nasal polyps: [development of mass within the nose-> there may be worsening of symptoms or medicines for allergy are no longer effective].Any of the following symptoms may develop:-nasal block increasing & not responding to allergy medications, expansion of bridge of nose, swelling in face, watering eyes, decreased vision, headache, nasal secretions[sticky or yellowish or green],facial pain, protrusion of eyes. Sometimes nasal polyps may be present without the person knowing and present later with complications such as vision affliction so regular 4- 6 monthly checkups are essential in all allergic rhinitis sufferers.
- Eustachian tube dysfunction & otitis media: [affects functioning of the ear due to affliction of tube connecting the back of the nose to the ear] .Any of the following symptoms may develop:-pain or discomfort in the ears, ringing in ears, dizziness, fullness or blocked sensation in ears, and decreased hearing.
Dr Sonia Suprabha Venugopal
MBBS MS ENT[AIIMS]
Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgery
Sonia & Prateek's ENT Speciality Center,Sahakaranagar, Bangalore
ENT Specialist Bangalore