Originally created 03/09/99

Age old questions



Q: My allergies are always worse in the spring. How can I avoid my annual suffering? - S.V., Clarks Hill

A: Taking time to smell the roses has new meaning for those with springtime allergies.

Just like red hair or freckles, allergies can be inherited. While you can't change your heredity, you can change other factors of your life. First, try to avoid items that make your allergies worse.

But even if you try to avoid those dandelions that make you wheeze, an increased number of blooming plants may trigger an allergic reaction. Especially during the fall and spring, you may experience allergen overload from pollens.Try an over-the-counter allergy medication or consult your physician. Also, stay indoors in air conditioned buildings as much as possible.

Those tips won't work for everyone, because many allergies actually come from indoors! Those who sneeze and wheeze throughout the year should examine their homes first before blaming outside offenders.

One of the best ways to cut down on allergic suffering is to conduct a good old-fashioned spring-cleaning.

According to the allergy experts at AllerDays, the leading cause of indoor allergens is the dust mite, which is a microscopic cousin of the spider. These tiny critters live in carpets, upholstered furniture, and curtains. Have you heard of the "bed bugs"? Well, these little creatures also make their homes in pillows and bedding.

Indoor molds and mildews also cause allergic reactions. These sneaky intruders grow in damp, dark areas. Be sure to keep your home dry by fixing any leaks in walls or plumbing. Another way to combat mold and mildew is to empty and clean garbage containers regularly.

If your pet causes you to sniffle, try bathing your loyal friend more often. The animal's dander (or shed skin cells) is often what causes allergies. Bathing will help reduce the problem, but will not eliminate it.

Spring cleaning usually involves shaking out rugs, vacuuming, cleaning windows, washing curtains, and other tasks you may not do on a regular basis. Spring cleaning also offers an opportunity to clean out old clutter.Get rid of those broken umbrellas and those lonely socks that you don't really need or use. They are only collecting more dust for you to sneeze, anyway.

If you have a question or would like additional information, please write to Shirley McIntosh, Resource Center on Aging, 2803 Wrightsboro Road, Suite 51, Augusta, GA 30909.



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