Allergy Treatment Begins At Home (cont.)
What are carpet powders? Can they help?
By this point we all know how important it is to remove
the carpets, especially in the bedroom. Sometimes though,
this just is not practical. Perhaps you are renting your
home or apartment or maybe you just had the carpet replaced
before you became aware of your dust mite allergy. Don't
worry, there are ways around this.
One option is tannic acid (3% solution). Although the
acid doesn't kill the dust mites, it does destroy the mite
allergens. The solution can be easily sprayed on
troublesome surfaces and is fast acting. It may, however,
cause staining of carpets and upholstery. On a positive
note, tannic acid may inactivate cat allergens, but this
requires frequent application. Unfortunately, tannic acid
has a temporary effect at best.
Another option is an "acaracide," which comes as a
powder or spray that actually kills the dust mites and
decreases the antigen levels. This product is available
through allergy supply companies, but remains unavailable
The presence of a smoker in the home will sabotage the
best of all possible treatment programs for allergies and
asthma. If you, your spouse or partner, or your child have
chronic allergies or asthma problems, don't smoke and don't
allow smoking in the home. Smoking may be the reason why
allergy and asthma symptoms are persisting despite an
otherwise thorough allergy control and medication treatment
program. Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke are
at a 50% increased risk of developing asthma. There are no
excuses and "smoking outside" is not good enough. If you
smoke, quit now. It's terrible for you and for everyone who
lives with you.
What to do with the pets?
This is frequently a challenging issue for both doctors
and allergy sufferers. Common sense and emotion often
collide and differences of opinion amongst family members
may complicate the problem. In order of their
effectiveness, the recommended control measures for a
significantly allergic or asthmatic individual are:
- Find another home for the pet.
- Keep the pet outdoors at all times. Remember, though,
that the allergens will come into your home on your clothes.
- Keep the pet out of the allergic person's bedroom at
Even after you have found a new home for your pet,
animal allergens may still persist in your home for many
months in the typical reservoirs, carpeting, upholstery,
and mattresses. Repeated vacuuming, steam cleaning, and
applications of 3% tannic acid solution will help
neutralize the remaining allergens.
If parting with your pet is unacceptable, the following
are additional tips for managing the home environment.
- When the pet is indoors, keep it in a room with few
allergy reservoirs, such as the kitchen.
- Provide your cat or dog with its own bed.
- Use a HEPA filter in the bedroom and a portable room
heater if needed. Seal off the room air ducts.
- Wear a mask when handling the litter box, or even
better, have a non-allergic family member do it.
- Vacuum with a double filter or a HEPA filter.
- Wash the cat weekly to help remove surface allergens.
Kittens take to regular bathing better than do older
cats. Start slowly with a few drops of tepid water (soap
is not necessary) on its fur and then progress to a full
rinse. Reward the cat with treats - this might
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Allergy Treatment at Home - Prevention
Question: Does anyone in your household have allergies? Please share tips for preventing allergies in your home.