For many of us, the sniffling, sneezing and itchy throats of seasonal allergies are an inevitable part of our lives. While there are several treatments and medications that make allergies better, there also are things many of us are doing that actually make them worse.
1. Forgetting to change or clean air filters
The reasons air filters are so important are also the very reasons they can be disruptive to your health. The filters collect dust and allergens to keep them out of the air you breathe, but if you’re not vigilant about changing those filters, all of those collected allergens can come back to haunt you. A full, dirty filter can trap allergens. It’s recommended that you change your air filters every 30-45 days if you suffer from allergies.
2. Skipping the shower after spending time outside
Every time you step outside, you’re exposing yourself to allergens in the air. When you go back inside, you’re bringing them with you on your clothes, hair and skin. That’s why it’s always a good idea to hop in the shower after being outside for any length of time. You especially won’t want to go to bed without that shower. The allergens in your hair and skin can contaminate your bedding and make for some rough nights of sleep.
3. Snuggling up with dirty pets
We love our pets, but as cute and cuddly as they are, all that fur can be an allergy attack waiting to happen. Your pets can have significant effects on your allergies, but you can protect yourself from outside allergens by making sure you put your pet in the bathtub after they roll around outside.
4. Avoiding those cleaning duties
Don’t feel like dusting, sweeping or vacuuming? Here’s motivation to get cleaning: leaving that work undone can make your allergies worse. Hiding in your carpet, on the blades of your ceiling fan and on that throw pillow are allergens. Keeping up with those little chores will do wonders for your allergies.
5. Not using nasal steroids
Nasal steroids can help ease inflammation in the nasal passages, which can reduce allergy symptoms. Nasal steroids are often more effective than antihistamines at managing allergies. That’s true for both over-the-counter and prescription nasal steroids.
Of course, changing these bad habits is not a foolproof way to end allergies, but it is a step to make sure you’re not exacerbating the problem.
About the author
Dr. Christopher Grant, MD, is a family medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Waco. He attended the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio and completed his residency in family medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital.