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2.5 Allergy Avoidance and environmental changes




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This article is from the Children Allergies and Asthma FAQ, by Eileen Kupstas Soo kupstas@cs.unc.edu with numerous contributions by others.

2.5 Allergy Avoidance and environmental changes

For most allergies and asthma, the best treatment is to avoid
the allergen. This is easier for foods and more difficult for inhalant
allergens.

For food allergies, a number of books have been written with
recipes and advice. The list of resources below give some ideas.
Altering the diet to exclude certain foods can be easy if the food is
relatively uncommon or is easy to spot. For example, shellfish,
melons, citrus, and bell peppers are usually easy to spot and avoid.
Foods like eggs, wheat, corn, peanuts and milk are harder to spot as
they may be hidden ingredients in a number of foods. Many recipes are
available that are easy, tasty, and avoid the allergen. Although some
change in diet is inevitable, it is not a death sentence; most people
do not have to cut out social events or change their lives radically.

For inhalant allergies, avoidance requires more work. For
seasonal allergens (pollens), try to stay indoors as much as possible
and avoid going out during peak pollen times ( usually early
mornings). Filter masks are available to prevent breathing in
allergens if you must be out. For year-round and household allergens
(mold, dust, dander), the best approach is minimizing places for the
stuff to gather. Patients are usually advised to remove curtains,
carpets, and unnecessary clutter. If anything is left :-), make sure it
is easily washable and wash it frequently. Vacuum often; once a day is
recommended by some. Make sure allergy-prone people (especially asthma
sufferers) are out of the house before any painting, waxing, or other
heavy-duty fume- producing activity occurs. Air filtering systems are
available for individual rooms and as whole-house systems. (See
resources section).
Furry pets are a big source of dander, so it is
best not to have pets or, next best, keep them outside. Absolutely keep
pets out of bedrooms at all times. Tobacco smoke is irritating to many
allergic people, so this should also be eliminated or kept outside.

 

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