Allergic to Your House?
I am 26 years old and have noticed that I am developing a hypersensitivity to the world. I'm definitely allergic to cat hair and dust mites, but I feel as if I'm getting more sensitive to many more things, as well. Can you advise me on how to allergy proof my house?
Allergy proofing your home will cut down on your exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens, but you should also work to reduce your own allergic responsiveness by modifying your diet to see if that decreases your allergy symptoms.
First things first: Make yourself a safe haven at home. I suggest dust proofing your bedroom. Eliminate wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, feather pillows, and any other dust catchers. Use window shades instead of venetian blinds, which can trap dust. (You can leave curtains in place, provided you wash them regularly in hot water to kill dust mites.) Encase your mattress in an airtight, dust-proof plastic cover. Dust your furniture regularly with a damp cloth, and clean the floors with an oiled mop.
If you have a cat, the ideal way to reduce your allergy symptoms is to find it another home. Of course, most of us with pets would rather suffer than part with our best friends. So ask someone who isn't allergic to the animal to brush it frequently. If the cat will cooperate, a weekly bath can help get rid of excess hair, as well. And, of course, try to keep the cat out of your bedroom.
You might also consider buying an air filter. I recommend a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores. These devices work well and aren't too expensive. Get one for the main rooms in your house, or move one from room to room regularly. Avoid air filtering equipment that generates ozone (HEPA filters don't).
As many of you already know, I suggest these diet modifications for people who suffer from allergies: Eliminate milk and milk products, and follow a low-protein diet. Excessive protein can irritate the immune system and keep it in a state of over-reactivity.
I also recommend taking quercetin, a bioflavonoid from buckwheat and citrus. It stabilizes the membranes of mast cells which release histamine, the body chemical that mediates many allergic reactions. Take 400 milligrams of quercetin twice a day between meals. To relieve immediate symptoms, try taking one or two capsules of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) every two to four hours as needed.