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Welcome to allergy central. Austin has notoriously high levels of many seasonal allergens. If you suffer from chronic allergies, the best “treatment” is avoidance altogether. If you are allergic to substances carried by the wind, avoidance (by minimizing time outdoors) becomes key.
Your A/C can help a Lot
The single most important change you can make (within your home) is to use a top quality air filter in your air conditioning system. We recommend high efficiency A/C filters. These usually cost $4-5 apiece, and it’s worthwhile to have several on hand because they MUST be replaced frequently to be effective. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much this minor change helps your allergies.
Most “house dust” allergies have nothing to do with dust. The actual cause of 95% of home allergies is a tiny mite that lives in house dust, carpet, and bedding. These mites feed on the dead skin cells that we all shed constantly.
In order to minimize exposure to dust mites, pollen, molds, and other allergens we recommend that you:
- Use foam pillows instead of down or feather pillows.
- Launder bedding regularly, including mattress pads and blankets, in hot water at least 130 degrees.
- Vacuum carpets and clean floors frequently. If possible, remove carpeting from the bedroom or treat carpet with insecticide.
- Minimize dust-collecting surfaces, such as shelves, stuffed animals, etc.
- Cover windows with shades or washable curtains instead of venetian blinds, and clean them often.
- Ensure that all rooms are well-ventilated to minimize mold load.
- Keep windows closed to avoid contact with outdoor allergens.
- Avoid locations that promote the growth of molds (damp, poorly ventilated areas). If possible, avoid sleeping in a bedroom located in a basement or attic.
- Avoid smoking or breathing second-hand smoke.
- As much as possible, avoid exposure to grasses and other outdoor allergens.
- Eliminate house plants, especially in the bedroom.
- Keep pets out of bedrooms
Many very effective allergy medications have gone “over the counter”. This has allowed easier access to these medications. The problem, however, is that these medications must be properly administered to be effective. For instance, there is a specific way to self-administer a nasal spray that makes it MUCH more effective. We are happy to discuss the proper dosage and administration of these meds when we see you at your next visit.