Is It Allergy Season In Texas
Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system that’s mistakenly attacking its own body tissue as if it were a foreign invader. The body produces chemicals called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies when it encounters something it recognizes as harmful. When these IgE molecules bind to receptors on mast cells or basophils, they release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals which cause inflammation and swelling in various tissues. This results in itching, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, chest tightness, etc. Symptoms vary because each person has different levels of sensitivity.
The best way to avoid allergies is not to expose your skin and lungs to allergens such as pollen and dust mites. But with allergy season upon us again, there are some things you can do to reduce symptoms and keep them at bay longer during the worst parts of the year. Here are five tips to help you stay healthy and allergy-free throughout the fall and winter.
1. Use a humidifier indoors to prevent irritation due to dry air. Dry air aggravates many people’s allergies, especially those who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Keeping the humidity level above 30 percent will also reduce the amount of dust and dirt in the home. These particles aggravate allergies by releasing their spores into the air. You should use a dehumidifier only when necessary to maintain humidity between 20 to 50 percent. If the relative humidity level drops below 15 percent, the walls and windowsills will start to crack and peel. Also, be sure to open doors and windows frequently to promote fresh air circulation.
2. Wear a mask outdoors whenever possible. Masks trap airborne dust and pollens inside your mouth and nose. And since masks don’t allow your eyes to breath, they’ll keep your eyes moist and comfortable. They’re also good for protecting against colds and flu viruses, too. Some people prefer to wear disposable cloth masks instead of reusable ones made of wool or cotton. However, the latter are more effective than disposables in blocking pollutants. Wearing a non-filtering facemask outdoors could increase your chances of catching a respiratory illness. So if you do choose to wear one, make sure it contains activated carbon or another filtering material.
3. Wash your face regularly using a mild cleanser like soap or glycerin soap. Don’t wash your face with hot water or scrub hard. Scrubbing actually removes the natural protective oils on your skin and leaves it vulnerable to infection. Instead, rinse your face gently with clean warm water to remove any dirt and bacteria buildup on your skin. Avoid washing your hair every day unless you’ve shampooed it several times already. After showering, pat yourself dry with a towel rather than rubbing your skin vigorously. This will save time and ensure that all moisture evaporates naturally from your skin without leaving behind any greasy residue.
4. Take extra care to protect your eyes while outside in windy weather. Be careful of flying debris, dust, sand, grit, salt spray, and even snowflakes. Never look directly into the sun; always wear sunglasses. And take regular breaks to rest your eyes and get out of direct sunlight. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
5. Keep pets off the furniture. Pets shed dander, saliva and urine everywhere. On couches, chairs, beds, carpets and floors. Not just your pet, but anyone else who uses the room will be covered in animal fur, dander, saliva and urine. A quick vacuuming once a week will help minimize the number of allergens in the carpet. Clean up after your dog or cat when he relieves himself on the couch. Make sure to cover up the area with throw blankets or towels so stains don’t set into the fabric. If your pet sheds predominantly during certain seasons, try avoiding that particular piece of furniture until it dries out.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know what we mean when we say “Itchy Eyes, Sore Throat”. No matter how much you prepare for allergy season, it’s never easy to predict just how bad it might get. By following these simple steps, you’ll be better prepared to handle the onslaught of allergens and the resulting misery.
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