Five Spring Cleaning Tasks to Prevent Allergies

It’s that time of year again: allergy season. Even if you’ve let weekly cleaning slide, spring cleaning is a great opportunity to regroup and significantly reduce allergens in your home on behalf of your family. Household allergens can be a problem for those with allergies but can also trigger allergic symptoms in people without allergies. Dust mites are only one issue – many harmful toxins and bacteria are carried by the dust on your floor, carpet, upholstery and bedding. Dust mite excretion, pollen, and pet dander are three common forms of allergens also found within dust. There are several measures you can take to reduce the impact of these allergens on your family – nip allergens in the bud with these five spring cleaning tasks.

  1. Dust your blinds

Cleaning blinds is a chore that is oft forgotten or neglected but is important. When left neglected, they can get layered with dust, pet fur, skin cells, and dander. While it has been recommended to get rid of drapes and blinds altogether, as they trap both dust and allergens, where you can switch to roll shades, there are measures you can take to mitigate the dust issue with blinds. Clean blinds each month with a microfiber cloth or a microfiber blind cleaner. You can also  use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment. Remember that with all items in your house to dust weekly and vacuum regularly.

  1. Flip and air out your mattress

Flipping and airing out your mattress is so important as no matter how you clean your sheets and vacuum your mattress, your mattress will eventually accumulate thousands of dust mites and other microbes that cause allergy problems. Many mattresses, especially memory foam, trap heat which make it the perfect warm, damp breeding environment for bacteria. So what can you do? Picking out a mattress that is less conducive to dust mites is key. Vacuuming your mattress regularly is key as well. Since dust mites thrive in warm, damp places, flipping your mattress and airing out your mattress regularly helps significantly. If you have had your mattress for over 10 years, it’s likely soiled with all types of allergens. It might be best to get a new mattress all together.

  1. Get special bedding

Spring cleaning is a time when you can and should consider special investments and upgrades that promote an allergen free household. You might want to consider special bedding for your mattress. Consider dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows to keep dust mites out. It may seem like a splurge, but mattress covers and bed sheets when uncleaned can be covered with human and pet hair, dander, pollen, and dust mites.

  1. Get an air purifier

Another great investment to make during spring cleaning is purchasing an air purifier. A HEPA air purifier is said to eliminate 99% of allergens in your home. Make sure you clean them every three to six months and clean the filter outside of your home rather than inside. It helps the purifier continue to do its job if you keep doors and windows closed tight during pollen season.

 

  1. Wipe off your pets

Spring cleaning is all about beginning new positive habits, one of which is wiping off your pets. In particular, wiping off a pet’s paws when they come inside the house from the backyard is a must. Allergens like pollen love to cling to paws and fur. Consider a packet a pet wipes to keep handy next to each door to the house, especially before they get on your bed. For that matter, it is suggested that you keep pets out of the bedroom. That can be really tough if you already have norms and a routine set where your dogs sleep with you, but keeping them off the bed protects you from dander. Also, if you have pet allergies, it is essential you do not let dogs sleep with you.

 

Remember that spring cleaning just like spring itself, is a time for new beginnings, especially when it comes to cleaning routines and practices. Get this spring started off right by putting into place new cleaning habits that lead to a healthier household.

Written By Guest Blogger: Lisa Smalls

Nearly 1 in 12 U.S. Kids Has a Food Allergy

A new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago found that nearly 1 in 12, or 8 percent, of American children have food allergies. Further, of those children with food allergies, 1 in 5 of them will suffer an allergic reaction severe enough to wind up in the hospital. As food allergies become more common, they need to be taken more seriously to prevent children from visiting the emergency room.

The most common allergies are to peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, fish, wheat, soy and sesame, said lead researcher Dr. Ruchi Gupta. Peanut is the most common food allergy, affecting about 2 million children, followed by milk (1 million), shellfish (1 million), tree nuts (1 million), eggs (nearly 1 million), fish (less than a half million), wheat and soy (.4 million) and sesame (.15 million), she said.

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20181119/nearly-1-in-12-us-kids-has-a-food-allergy#1

It’s National Penicillin Allergy Day!

Today, September 28, 2018 is recognized by several states and health organizations as the second-annual National Penicillin Allergy Day, a national awareness day to help spread the word and educate the community on penicillin allergies and testing. This date holds significance in the medical industry and antibiotic community as the date Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, in 1928.

Penicillin allergy is one of the most frequently reported allergies; however, nine out of 10 patients reporting a penicillin allergy are not truly allergic, which can lead to higher use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and an increased risk of adverse events for patients. Inaccurately labeling patients as penicillin allergic is, therefore, recognized as a significant public health problem—and it is important for patients and providers to know the facts about penicillin allergies to help combat the rise of antibiotic resistance.

“We are eager to continue spreading critical awareness around penicillin allergies with the second annual National Penicillin Allergy Day,” said Jorge Alderete, President ALK, Inc. “Together we can assist communities in educating patients, healthcare providers and others on the importance of proper diagnosis, the facts about penicillin allergy prevalence, and the risks associated with an unverified diagnosis. With proper diagnosis and hospital antibiotic stewardship efforts, health providers and patients can reduce the use of alternative antibiotics. These alternative antibiotics, when used unnecessarily, can lead to higher treatment costs and stronger antibiotic drug resistance.”

Several national organizations have joined efforts to help educate and bring awareness to penicillin allergy and the importance of testing.

“It’s vital that doctors understand the importance of confirming penicillin allergy, but it’s even more critical that those who carry the label be tested by an allergist or other healthcare provider trained in allergy testing to be sure,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “An allergist or other healthcare provider can work with a patient to find out if they are truly allergic and determine the best medications available for treatment. Patients who are found not allergic will be able to use medications that are safer, often more effective, and less expensive.”

“Many studies establish that the majority of individuals labeled as penicillin allergic actually are not truly allergic to penicillin (and other members of this family of antibiotics). There are proven methods to rule out penicillin allergy and doing so in these individuals would allow optimizing the choice of antibiotics among those who are demonstrated not to be allergic. This day is a great way to spread the word, help ensure that patients have access to the safest possible antibiotic and work to address the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Robert Wood, MD FAAAAI, President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

 

 

https://www.tullahomanews.com/news/business/nationalpenicillinallergyday-increases-awareness-of-penicillin-allergy-for-second-year/article_d76f25fa-cbfc-548f-8cda-6632f90ad26a.html

 

Food Allergy Awareness

I read a great blog post a few days ago, written by a guest blogger for FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).  The blog post was written to encourage others to participate in Fare’s Food Allergy Heroes Walk.  The take-home message for me was simple- Create Awareness.

My first profession was that of an elementary school teacher.  I was young and single, with no children of my own.  My ‘awareness’ of food allergies was very limited.  I knew of food allergies, I’d heard of people being allergic to peanuts, but had no real understanding what that meant for a child with food allergies or a parent with a food-allergic child.  Due to my inexperience, I didn’t have any understanding that being in contact with a peanut, or peanut butter, or a child who just ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch could produce such disastrous outcomes- anaphylaxis, emergency rooms, feeling like nobody understands.  I didn’t ‘get it’ when parents and organizations had wars with the airline industry about banning peanuts as snacks.  I just thought, “Well, don’t eat the peanuts then.”  I didn’t understand that there are people so allergic to peanuts that by simply breathing in the cabin air on an airplane could make them sick, or that by touching a seat-back someone touched who had recently eaten peanuts and then wiping their eyes, nose, or mouth could have a severe allergic reaction.  I also was not aware that there were treatments for food allergies, such as allergy drops/sublingual immunotherapy.

Many years have gone by since I was a teacher, and I’m now a mother of three children, who thankfully do not have food allergies.  However, I have become more ‘aware’.  Aware of the needs of individuals with food allergies, aware of the needs of individuals as a whole- the need for sympathy and understanding from others, no matter what their ‘cause’ may be.

If you’re looking for a FARE walk, please follow the link to find a location near you.

http://fare.foodallergy.org/site/PageServer?pagename=heroes_walk_active_events