Allergy Treatment Begins at Home

Quick GuideCould I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers

Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers

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 in Canada.

Allergy Alert

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 all times.

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.

Allergy Assist

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 help.

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