19048 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Lifestyle Changes to Manage Allergic Rhinitis

    There are many types of allergens; therefore, it is nearly impossible to eliminate all allergens from your environment. But there are certain things you can do to help reduce allergens and minimize your exposure to allergy triggers. Still, while avoiding the allergens may eliminate your symptoms, it will not eliminate or reduce your sensitivity to that allergen, and symptoms will reoccur whenever you are re-exposed.
    The primary indoor allergens are waste products from microscopic organisms called dust mites. Dust mites are especially prevalent in bedding, curtains, and carpeting.
    To control dust mites:
    • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130°F [54°C]) and dry in a hot dryer.
    • Cover mattresses and pillowcases with airtight allergen-proof covers.
    • Replace comforters and pillows made from natural materials (such as down, feathers, or cotton) with those made from synthetic fibers.
    • Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting (especially in the bedroom) as much as possible. If you have it, be sure to vacuum often.
    It is not animal fur that causes allergies, but a protein that exists in the saliva, urine, and skin flakes (dander) of animals. If you have a pet allergy, you may need to take certain steps to minimize contact with your pet's saliva, urine, and skin flakes.
    • Keep your pet out of the rooms you use most frequently (such as the bedroom).
    • Have other nonallergic family members groom your pet as often as possible.
    Be aware that you may have to remove your pet from your home if you or a family member is severely allergic.
    Studies have shown that people who live in environments that contain cockroaches and mice have a higher incidence of asthma and allergies. If pests are a chronic problem in your home consider hiring an exterminator.
    Other tips to diminish pest infestation include:
    • Close all open gaps in windows, floorboards, doors, and around drains.
    • Fix and seal leaky water faucets and pipes because roaches need water and humidity to survive.
    • Always keep food in airtight containers.
    • Remove pet food dishes after pets have eaten.
    • Keep stove and kitchen surfaces free of food and dirt.
    The spores of molds and fungi that thrive in warm, moist, and humid areas can create allergic reactions. To reduce indoor molds and fungi:
    • Remove any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that show visible evidence of mold.
    • Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
    • Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as the basement.
    • Avoid storing clothing in damp areas.
    • Do not carpet damp or concrete floors.
    • Use a solution of 1 part bleach and 20 parts water to clean areas with mold.
    Air irritants and pollutants can trigger an allergic reaction. You can do the following to help reduce your exposure to airborne irritants:
    • Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home.
    • Avoid areas with fresh paint fumes.
    • Avoid the fumes of strong cleaning products.
    • Avoid perfumes and aerosols when possible.
    Nearly all allergens thrive in moist, damp, or dirty environments. One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of allergic rhinitis is to maintain a clean, dry environment. The following will help:
    • Clean and vacuum frequently, using HEPA filters.
    • Use fans to promote air circulation.
    • Use an electrostatic air purifier.
    • Use a dehumidifier in damp areas.
    If you have allergies to pollens, molds, or other outdoor allergens:
    • Avoid raking, mowing, blowing leaves, and other outdoor activities that might put you in contact with allergens.
    • Gardening and farming are associated with high levels of exposure to molds. You may need to stop doing these activities.
    • Close windows and stay indoors (with air conditioning) when pollen counts are high.
    • Time your outdoor recreational activities (hiking, bicycling, camping) for when pollen counts are lower.
    If your symptoms are not controlled or become severe despite lifestyle changes and over-the-counter allergy medicines, contact your doctor for further care.

    References

    Advice from your allergist: Rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/public/advice/rhin.htm . Accessed September 15, 2008.

    Carson-DeWitt R. Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated November 2007. Accessed September 15, 2008.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.