Dust Mite Allergies


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dust-mite-allergiesIt would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard about the dreaded “dust mite.” But most people have no idea that the dust mite is the number one cause of household related allergies and asthma.

Dust mites are found in the indoor environment and are most prevalent in the bedroom where they fest on the skin flakes in bedding. Oddly enough, people are rarely allergic to the dust mite themselves but the feces of the dust mite. The fecal matter of the dust mites contain a protein that allergy and asthma sufferers are sensitive to. In fact, allergy and asthma researchers state that most all allergy and asthma sufferers are hypersensitive to the protein found dust mite feces. It is only a matter of how much of this protein they must breath in at any one time to create a direct symptom.

The Microscopic Dust Mite
House dust mites, due to their very small size and translucent bodies, are barely visible to the unaided eye. A typical house dust mite measures 0.25–0.3 millimeters (0.010–0.012 in) in length. For accurate identification, one needs at least 10× magnification. The body of the house dust mite has a striated cuticle. They have eight legs and can become airborne by attaching them selves to a household dust particle.

The Dust Mite Life-Cycle
The average life cycle for a male house dust mite is 10 to 19 days. A mated female house dust mite can last up to 70 days, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last 5 weeks of her life. In a 10-week life span, a house dust mite will produce approximately 2,000 fecal particles and an even larger number of partially digested enzyme-covered dust particles.

Controlling Dust Mites

The primary and most effective method of controlling dust mites and their fecal particles is by using a HEPA vacuum to control the household dust particles. Here a a few tips:

  • HEPA vacuum your mattress and box springs every month to remove microscopic skin flakes and other small dust particles.
  • Run a HEPA air purifier in the bedroom and other highly-used room 24/7.
  • Encase your mattress in a hypo-allergenic cover and wash weekly.
  • Keep dogs, cats and all other pets which produce dander from entering your bedroom.
  • HEPA vacuum all upholstery furniture, rugs and carpeting in the home weekly and all other surfaces every other week to minimize dust particles in the home.
  • Keep your skin moisturized will minimize the amount of skin flakes which you shed during sleeping.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Related Posts: Dust Allergies.

The Unknown Micro World : Dust Mites

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Allergy Prevention


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allergy-preventionThere are many beliefs in the best methods for allergy prevention when compared to the straightforward methods of diagnosing and treating allergies. Here are some of our most important questions with the best answer for allergy prevention.

Can allergies be prevented?
Generally, people who are aware of their problems can avoid offending allergens by not walking or driving in the country during the pollen season; by avoiding drafts and exposure to cold; by minimizing their exposure to house-dust; by trying not to breath the fumes of paint, insecticides or products containing irritants and other allergy symptom triggers. Allergic persons should strive to stay in good physical condition and to avoid emotional tension and fatigue. When they occur, respiratory infections should be taken seriously and treated immediately. It is especially important that parents watch children for allergic tendencies.

Foods are a common cause of allergies in infancy. Breast milk is preferable than cow’s milk in potentially allergic children. Eggs, wheat products and nuts should be added to the diet one at a time, and the child’s reaction should be recorded in a daily log.

Can indoor allergies be prevented?
When it comes to indoor pollutants; bedrooms and frequently used rooms should be kept as dust-free as possible. It is important to utilize HEPA vacuums and air purifiers which clean airborne particles from the air very efficiently. The more they are used, the better the indoor air quality becomes. Having pets such as a dog or cat should be avoided in homes which have an allergy sufferer as animal dander is hard to remove from the indoor environment once they are introduced.

Is good health important to allergy prevention?
Yes, allergy symptoms may be minimized with good health. The best way to achieve and maintain good health is with a balanced diet and a well-rounded program of exercise, recreation and rest. Smoking and drinking can actually set you up for allergy reactions and should be avoided. Although these measures will not cure allergies, they help prevent allergic symptoms by contributing to better resistance.

What are lesser-known allergy triggers?
Allergy scientist state that such emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger and strong excitement can precipitate an allergy attack. This is not to say, however, that these emotions are the physical basis of the allergy; which is real and of primary importance to people with allergies. In general, the allergic sufferer is better off in an atmosphere of calm and confidence. Parents of asthmatic children should as much as possible, maintain an attitude of calm and reassurance. The allergic child for example, should be encouraged to be self-reliant and to take part in family activities as possible.

To learn more about how to make your home a allergy-free haven, please sign up for our sponsor’s Free 10-Part Email Mini-Course on this page or click here to read more.

Source: The AllergyReliefExpert.com staff

Allergy Prevention Naturally

Air Duct Allergies


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air-duct-allergiesDuct cleaning has grown rapidly as an industry since the 1990’s primarily due to the advertising campaigns utilized by these firms. The average advertising campaign states that indoor air quality problems from dirty ducts are the primary cause of allergies and asthma symptoms.

Dirty Duct Allergies

The fact of the matter is, dirty air ducts are a symptom of a larger problem which exist in most homes throughout the United States. My best analogy to understand the source of the real problem is that; the air ducts are the lungs of the home and if they are getting dirty, then the occupants of the home are breathing dirty air. The real problem is a control problem.

Controlling Allergens

Dirty ducts are simply an outcome of a lack of “particle control” methods. Ducts become dirty from the accumulation of various dust particles which can include airborne allergens. The key to reducing allergy symptoms caused by the typical airborne allergens found in the average home environment, is to implement particle control measures over a period of time. Some of the most common airborne allergens found to cause allergy symptoms are:

  • Tree and Grass Pollen
  • Dust Mites Feces and Mite parts
  • Other insect parts
  • Mold particles

The above allergens listed above are just a few of the many allergens which can be measured in the typical home environment. Here are some tips you can use now which are proven methods for reducing allergy symptoms in the home:

  1. Keep your pets outdoors as much as possible. If you allow them inside, keep them from getting on the furniture and going into your bedroom.
  2. Use a HEPA vacuum for all dust related cleaning in the indoor environment of your home.
  3. Use a HEPA air purifier in the rooms of your home you spend the most time in.
  4. Use high-quality “pleated” filters in your HVAC system.

Relief of your allergy symptoms may be realized within a period of 1-2 months by utilizing the above tips. If you want to get results even faster, then vacuum every single surface you can in the home with a HEPA vacuum daily for the first week and then weekly thereafter. And another plus, you probably will never need to have your ducts cleaned.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Dirty Nasty Mold Duct under Concrete Slab

Allergy Tips


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allergy-tipsAllergies may be more prevalent than we really know. A lot of symptoms attributed to other causes are, in fact, allergic responses. Chronic allergies to foods, food additives or everyday chemical products can produce symptoms that are labeled as colitis, migraine headaches, sinus problems, asthma and a variety of other health problems. Some allergies are disguised as addictions. You may actually crave a food or a substance that causes an unhealthy response, ranging from mood swings to headaches. Common food allergies include milk, wheat, corn,chocolate, peanuts and soft drinks.

There are some tips to consider for alleviating your allergies:

  • A food log can help you pinpoint possible suspect foods. If you write down the menu for every meal, you may be able to identify foods or dishes that are followed by allergic reactions. When you identify a food that may be responsible, try eliminating it for a week to two weeks. If there are no symptoms, reintroduce it to see if symptoms reappear.
  • If you catch colds frequently, your problem may actually stem from an allergy. The runny nose and swollen membranes associated with such allergic responses may be caused by histamines (naturally occurring body chemicals). Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and can often relieve these symptoms. Sinus-related allergies and hay fever are other problems that can be treated with Vitamin C.
  • If you often have rashes or other skin problems, they may be allergic responses to cosmetics, soaps or even laundry detergent.

Here’s another little-known method of identifying the source of an allergen without the expense of seeing a doctor; Use an unexposed area of your skin, such as your back (you may need assistance from someone). Make sure your skin is clean and dry. Apply a small amount of a suspected allergy-causing substance to your skin and cover with a square of surgical gauze, followed by a bandage or surgical tape. If the test substance is dry, such as a face powder or solid makeup, put a tiny amount of it in mineral oil and apply that to your skin. Keep the test patch on your skin for 24 to 48 hours and watch for an allergic reaction to develop. Once you find out which substance or substances are setting off your allergic response, you’ll know what to avoid.

To learn more about how to make your home a allergy-free haven, please sign up for our sponsor’s Free 10-Part Email Mini-Course on this page or click here to read more.

Understanding Allergies

Fire Ant Allergy


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fire-ant-allergyFire ants were originally introduced to the United States from South America during the 1920s, fire ants are now well established in several southern states. The venom of the fire ants differs from that of small biting insects, in that it can produce several local allergic reactions or systemic anaphylactic reactions.

The fire ants attack by biting to secure itself, then inserts its stinging apparatus, which contains the venom. Highly sensitive individuals with high levels of allergic antibodies against the venom of the fire ant are usually treated with immunotherapy.

Someone who is sensitive to insect bites should avoid:

  • Standing in the direct path of fire ant mounds and their traffic zones
  • Contact with a nest
  • Throwing objects or disturbing a nest
  • Hitting a mound when mowing
  • Planting flowers in a fire ant zone
  • Trimming hedges or shrubs in a fire ant zone
  • Walking barefoot outdoors
  • Cooking or eating outdoors

Fire Ant Control Tips

There are many safe fire ants mound control products available today which will help in controlling the fire ant population in your yard. However, they usually require more than one application per season. Always make sure you keep your pets away from fire ant zones as they can also have severe fire ant reactions when bitten. If you have a fire ant problem in your yard then it is advisable that you walk your perimeter weekly to help spot new mounds and zones so you can treat them promptly.

About the author: About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

HOW TO KILL FIRE ANTS ~ DEAD !

Allergic Reactions


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allergic-reactionMechanisms of Allergic Reactions

The most common hypersensitivity reaction is the allergic reaction. In susceptible people, IgE antibodies are induced when an individual is exposed to such antigens as airborne pollen of grasses, trees or weeds; animal dander, urine or saliva; mold spores; various insect-derived dusts and airborne organic dust; the venom of a certain stinging insect; or specific foods or drugs.

Allergens are antigens that produce allergic reactions. As encountered in nature, most allergic substances contain many different antigens or molecules capable of inducing an immune response. Most of the time, however, only a few of the antigens in these substances act as allergens. In recent years, allergens from a few pollen and animal sources have been identified, characterized and in many cases, isolated in pure form. In most cases the allergens clearly identified have proven to be proteins in a specific weight range of 10,000 to 40,000 daltons or in other words, they are microscopic in size.

The Single Allergy Gene Theory

We do not yet know what it is that leads to the spontaneous production of large amounts of IgE antibodies in some people. Recent evidence suggest that a person’s total IgE level is genetically determined by a single gene. In allergic individuals, the IgE levels are often two to four times above normal and is presumed to be from a result of the person’s  previous responses to environmental allergens. Exposure to small doses of antigens tend to favor IgE antibody production that is regulated by both helper and suppressor T cells.

Scientist now know that the level of IgE antibodies for ragweed-pollen antigens rises dramatically during and immediate after the annual ragweed season. The level then falls slowly until the next pollen season starts, when it rises quickly again.  Apparantly, T cells cause an influx of mast cells and basophils into an area such as the nose lining when exposed to ragweed pollen. As a result, symptoms of ragweed allergies can occur weeks after the official ragweed season has ended.

Allergy researchers have concluded that to understand and control allergic diseases, we must understand how the immune system functions. Recent knowledge has been harnessed allowing scientist to better control allergic reactions by controlling how the immune system reacts to a given allergen.

Source: The Allergy Encyclopedia

Related Posts: Sinus Allergy.

Scientists discover what triggers allergic reactions to cats

Allergy Medications


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allergy-medicationsAntihistamine and nose sprays are a multimillion dollar industry in the U.S. alone. Many of these products are purchased every year by allergy sufferers without fully understanding whether or not they will even work for their specific symptoms. It is important to understand how these products will assist in the treatment of allergies.

Antihistamine Decongestant Compounds

The many over-the-counter drugs for treatment of minor allergic symptoms are similar to cold compounds but they normally contain less of aspirin acetaminophen. Usually these drug compounds contain an antihistamine and a decongestant agent, which can be identified on the label. If you tolerate one of these drugs well and get good relief, it may be continued for several weeks (for example, through a hay fever season) without seeing a physician. The same sort of drug taken as nose drops or a nasal spray should be used more sparingly and only for short periods, as detailed below.

Reading the labels: The decongestant is often phenylephrine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. If the compound name is not familiar, the suffix “-ephrine” or “-edrine” will usually identify this component of the compound. The antihistamine is often chlorpheniramine or pyrilamine. If not, the antihistamine is sometimes (but not always) identified on the label by the suffix “-amine.”

Dosage: Per product directions. Reduce dose if side effects are noted or try another compound.

Side effects: These are usually minor and disappear after the drug is stopped or decreased in dose. Agitation and insomnia usually indicate too much of the decongestant component. Drowsiness usually indicates too much antihistamine. If you can avoid the substance to which you are allergic, it is far superior to taking drugs which, to a certain degree may impair your functioning.

Nose Drops and Sprays

A runny nose is often the worst symptom of a cold or allergy. Because this complaint is so common, remedies are big business and there are many advertised claims to decrease nasal secretions.  The active ingredient in these compounds is the decongestant drug ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. When used, you can immediately feel the membranes shrinking down or “drawing,” and you will note a decrease in the amount of secretion.

The major drawback is that the relief is temporary. Usually the symptoms return in a couple of hours and you will need to repeat the dose. This is fine for a while, but these drugs work by causing the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing blood flow. After many applications, these small muscles become fatigued and fail to respond. Finally, they are so fatigued that they relax entirely and the situation becomes worse than it was in the beginning. This reaction of over-use can cause a rebound effect thus prompting people to take more nasal medication leading to an increasing worse situation. Therefore, it is recommended to use nose sprays or drops for only a few days at a time.

Dosage: These drugs are almost always used in the wrong way. For example, if you don’t bathe the swollen membranes of the inner nose, you won’t get the desired effect. It is better to apply small amounts to one nostril while lying down on that side for a few minutes, then repeat for the other side if necessary. Treat up to four times a day if needed, but do not continue for more than three days without interrupting the therapy.

Side effects: The rebound effect from prolonged use is the most common problem. If you apply these agents incorrectly and swallow a large amount of the drug, you may experience the a rapid heart rate and an uneasy, agitated feeling. The drying effect of the drug can result in nosebleeds. Try to avoid  the substances you are allergic to rather than treating the consequences of exposure.

Source: The AllergyReliefExpert.com staff

MADtv Allergy Medication

Allergic Diseases


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allergic-diseasesWhat is an allergic disease?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance or substances. The substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, injected or contacted by the skin.

What are the most common allergic diseases?

Allergic diseases or reactions can involve any part of the body. The parts or systems most frequently involved are the respiratory system, where an allergic reaction may take the form of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma, and the skin where a reaction can take the form of allergic dermatitis or atopic eczema, contact dermatitis (for example poison ivy) or hives (urticaria). An allergic disease may also be a factor in numerous other diseases.

Hay fever is caused by allergy to the pollen of trees, grasses, weeds or molds or any combination of these. Depending on the section of the United States and pollinating periods, it may occur in the spring, summer or fall and it may last until the first hard freeze. Hay fever sufferers may have spells of sneezing, itching, weeping eyes, runny nose and/or a burning sensation of the throat.

Allergic rhinitis is a general term that applies to anyone with nasal  congestion, sneezing and a runny nose which are all caused by allergies. This may be a seasonal problem as with hay fever or it may be a year-round problem caused by other allergens such as house duct, animal dander and a host of other possibilities. Because allergic rhinitis is frequently confused with sinusitis, people with constant nasal symptoms should be evaluated for allergies.

Asthma is a condition characterized by coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties. It is frequently associated with a family history of chronic allergies. Any of the allergens mentioned above can cause an asthma attack. Chronic infections of the sinuses or bronchial tubes may also be an important factor to consider. Asthma sufferers are adversely affected by factors such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke and fumes. Asthma can begin at any age and can tend to recur and become chronic.

Allergic dermatitis or eczema is a non-contagious itchy rash that often occurs in the creases of the arms, legs and neck but can also break out anywhere. The condition is frequently associated with allergies and substances which a person is sensitive to. Foods are a common cause of this condition and usually is categorized as chronic in nature. A family history of allergy is thought to be a factor in its occurrence.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Allergic Diseases

Allergy Remedies


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allergy-remedies

Pollen is flying throughout the air during most of the year. Whether it is trees, flowers, grasses or weeds, millions may suffer from four to eight months out of the year. Drug companies target the 26 million seasonal allergy sufferers in the United States each year with ongoing advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, many of these same allergy sufferers may have more side effects due to the use of these drugs than realized.  Allergy doctors are reporting that these over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are not helping their symptoms.

While it is tempting to just lock our self away, if you’re one of those who suffer from allergies, there may be natural allergy remedies that can help you enjoy the allergy season as much as someone who has no allergies.

When an allergen hits enters a persons body, histamine is created. Histamines create physical responses such as sneezing, itchy watery eyes and more to help get rid of allergic offender.  While most allergy drugs that you buy at the local drug store are only designed to treat the symptoms, others such as antihistamines may stop the production of histamine giving temporary relief.

Allergy Remedies

Neti pots and sinus rinse devices are used worldwide to help clean the sinus cavities. A mixture of non-iodized salt with water can help rinse away the allergens from the nasal cavities. Many allergy sufferers report feeling brand new for a day after rinsing their nose with salt water.

Another natural allergy remedy is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, which helps the body slow the release of histamine. It is also believed to fight free radicals. The quercetin is found naturally in foods like apples, parsley, tea, onions, citrus, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine but supplements are also available. Quercetin should not be used by people with liver problems or who are pregnant or nursing.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as cold water fish, flaxseed oil and nuts can help with allergy symptoms. If you are prone to a lot of congestion of your allergies, try mixing a little horseradish, hot mustard or chili pepper to food. They are natural decongestants. Try to avoid foods that cause allergic reactions, because they may trigger a stronger response while fighting other allergies.

There are several other natural allergy remedies available. Do some research online and find one that works best for you.

About the Author:

Jason Baker is a owner and operator of a health food and vitamin store in Houston, Texas and writes articles for local holistic publications.

Natural Cure for Allergies

Cold Allergies


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cold-allergiesAccording to the National Institute of Health (NIH), children be get over six colds per year  in various degrees. Young children under the age of six which have developing immune systems are more likely to develop a cold.

Preventing Colds

Eating a good healthy diet and using pure water is the first defense against colds and allergies. Having a good nights sleep and getting enough daily exercise is also equally important.  A recommended diet includes whole foods, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

Cold Self Treatments

If a child has a cold, it is important for the to eat lightly until it has subsided. This will allow their body to focus on healing instead of heavy digesting. Wisely chosen foods such as chicken soup and other nutritious meals are the best medicine. Here are some additional food recommendations:

  • Steamed vegetables
  • Herbal teas
  • Ginger, onions and garlic
  • Lemon and honey in warm water
  • Mint flavored teas

Certain foods may actually make a cold worse and prolong wellness. For example, sugar depresses the immune system and may keep white blood cells from fighting infection. Remember, orange juice and other juices are high in sugar and should be avoided. Switching to teas and water is a better alternative.

Milk encourages the buildup of mucous, so it’s best to avoid dairy during the healing process. If they must have milk, consider soy or rice milk.

Cold Remedies

Medical doctor James Balch, co-author of Prescription for Natural Healing recommends the following herbs to counter a cold:

  • Echinacea
  • Lomatium
  • Elderberry

Hydrotherapy

Hot baths, showers and breathing in steam imbued with lavender oil can soothe coughs and help children fall asleep. Adding eucalyptus or peppermint can relieve congestion. Finally, remember the age-old tradition moms have used for centuries; for sore throats, gargle with salt water.

About the author: Dr. Lauri Grossman writes for various holistic publications.

Common Cold Or Allergies?