Discovering My Allergy Changed My Health

The moment I decided to change my life was nine years earlier than the moment I figured out what needed to happen to make that change.

In the spring of 2000, I’d just turned twenty-eight, and had been struggling with health ever since the birth of my son the previous summer. I was sleepless, headache-y, chronically tired, my joints were aching and I was unable to pick up the car seat or even write my name sometimes (gripping a pen was too painful.) I was mildly overweight, but not so much that it should have me unable to move. I’d tried several diets over the months, but I had to be careful since I was breast-feeding.

The epiphany came for me when I went to the doctor’s and he gave me a work up and discovered, among other things, that my cholesterol was 237. It was the AHA! moment. My dad had been in and out of hospitals for twelve years with heart attacks, and I was aware that I had many cards stacked against me. Young as I was, I certainly didn’t want to be headed down the same path of health destruction.

I started following primarily vegan eating plan, and implemented four-mile walks on most days. I initially slimmed down quite a bit, but my symptoms of misery persisted. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgea. I accepted this diagnosis with somber resolution, and began trying to research it.

As the years went by, I began having more symptoms. My headaches turned to migraines after the birth of my next baby. My skin began to have regular outbreaks of terribly painful, burning, cyst-like sores. The patches of outbreak were on my thighs, breasts (armpits) and by my neck, mostly, with some on my chin. It was embarrassing. I went on an anti-depressant. I struggled with irritable-bowel-syndrome more than ever. (That had been a problem my entire life).

Finally, in 2009, I went to my chiropractor’s and told him I really needed help. “You can’t touch this part of my back, though,” I told him. “And I know that’s where it needs to be adjusted, but I must have suffered nerve damage at some point. I will scream and die if you touch me there.” I was referring to my lower back.

It was this lovely man, who’d done extensive training on nutrition, who finally told me flat-out that I was allergic to wheat. I thought he was crazy until he started listing all the symptoms I’d been suffering without my prompting. He said the reason I had such intense sensitivity on my lower back was because of fatty tumors, which were a direct result of my wheat allergy.

He told me to give up wheat.

“I’ll try,” I said.

“You can’t try. You have to just do it, Laura.”

I went home that day, wheat-free, and never looked back. In two weeks, absolutely every symptom I had went away (except for the fatty tumors under the skin, which take a while to diminish). I have been wheat-free for a year-and-a-half, and have lost forty pounds. Interestingly, every time I went vegan, my symptoms increased because my consumption of whole wheat increased! I know I’m still learning about where the hidden wheat is (and my body never fails to let me know when I’ve had some by having a skin outbreak, diarrhea, or a migraine,) but I finally have the energy to take on a healthy exercise routine. Understanding that I didn’t have to accept a diagnosis that was going to make me a slave to disease was the most empowering moment of my life.

Loratadine: Allergy Relief for a Third of the Cost of Claritin

Since living in Florida (I am going back 20 years now), I have had a real problem with itching eyes that sometimes weep and a runny nose. I have tried nasal sprays and eye drops, but neither have helped that much. When over-the-counter Claritin came out, I purchased a box of 10 pills, and I remember saying to myself that they cost more than $1 a pill. The good thing was that they really did help me.

So when the generic brand came out, called Loratadine, I figured it wouldn’t hurt me to try it. It has the same strength 10 mg. as Claritin and the first purchase cost me half the price of the brand name.

Loratadine is an antihistamine and gives 24 hour allergy relief in just one tiny white tablet. It states that it gives relief for “hay fever, sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, itchy throat and nose.” However, the most important information for me was that it is non-drowsy, as I take it in the mornings and need to be alert.

On the days I have forgotten to take Loratadine, within a few hours my eyes feel almost cloudy and I feel as if I need to rub them. As I do wear eye makeup that would be a disaster.

The last purchase I made of Loratadine was a packet of 30 tablets and it was on sale for just $9.99. At 33 cents a pill I think that the generic of Claritin is an excellent buy. I would highly recommend it to anyone that has allergy problems.

We go from pollen, to grass, to rag weed, and trees here in Florida and the allergy season seems to last all year long. I have to wear glasses because with my allergies I would never be able to keep contacts in. Loratadine really does help me but it does not totally eliminate the itching I get in my eyes. It really does do good on drying up my nose.

Before taking any over-the-counter medication you should check with your doctor first.


“Adults and children 6 years and over I tablet daily and must not exceed 1 in a 24 hour period.

Children under the age of 6 and people with kidney disease are to check with their doctor for advice”.

Loratadine is a product that I always keep in my medicine cabinet and also in my handbag. I always ensure that I take it with me when going on vacation.

So Claritin or Loratadine? Why pay for a brand name when the generic works just as well?

7 Ways to Rid Your Home of Allergens

Allergies are your bodies natural way of telling you it doesn’t like whats going in it. Your nose starts to get stuffy and runny, while your eyes get red and itchy. While there is no way to permanently get rid of the many types of allergies, there are many treatments. But if you do not wish to be medicated constantly for your allergies, try these doctor recommended tips to help ease your symptoms:

1. Install an Air Cleaner

Install an air cleaner that fits into the air intake of your air conditioner and heating unit. This will trap pollen and dust much better than a furnace filter would. Make sure you always change your furnace filter every thirty days as well. An air cleaner is pretty self explanatory. It literally cleans the air. The dust, and pollen gets sucked in to your air intake and, with the help of the air cleaner, comes out very unpolluted. It is worth the money you spend and you will notice a difference immediately.

2. Use your Air Conditioner

Using your air conditioner will help keep your humidity low, which prevents mold and mites from growing and multiplying. Also, if you install an air cleaner the air conditioner can filter the air while it cools. Fresh air is nice, but if your windows are open then you allow all sorts of airborne allergens to enter your home.

3. Purchase a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers can reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Drawing the moisture out of the air will stop the allergens from growing. The drier your home is the better you can breathe.

4. Clean with Bleach

Cleaning your bathrooms, kitchen, floors, windows, and walls with bleach will not only kill the germs and bacteria in your home, but it will also kill mold and mites. If you are sure that the bleach won’t discolor your belongings, then use if on everything you can. Clorox even makes a cleaner that has bleach in it that is safe enough to use in the refrigerator or on children’s high chairs. Anywhere in your house where moisture can build up is a target place for mold to grow. so keep those places especially cleaned with bleach.

5. Change your Sheets

Change your sheets and mattress pad as often as you can and wash the soiled in hot water with a small amount of bleach. Make sure you buy synthetic pillows, because you can wash them in hot water with bleach. Bleach and hot water will kill the dust mites (as stated above) and it will make sure you will have a breathable night. Covering your mattress in plastic will also help keep the mites out.

6. Get Rid of the Old Carpet

Putting hardwood floors down in your home in place of your old carpet will do wonders on reducing the amount of allergens in your home. Carpet holds dust, mold, pet dander, mites, pollen, you name it, its in your carpet. Most of the time vacuuming doesn’t suck it all up. If you must have rugs, then purchase throw rugs that can easily fit into your washing machine. Make sure you wash them in the hottest temperature setting to kill the mites.

7. Keep Pets well Groomed

Pets, especially dogs and cats, have pet dander which many of us are allergic to. Pets shed their dander daily and it circulates throughout your home. If getting rid of your pets is not an option, (in many cases it is not an option) then make sure that your pets are bathed and groomed properly. This will eliminate the amount of dander they will shed.

Eliminating the source of your allergies will reduce the amount of allergy medications you will need to take. Sure, taking the medication may be an easier alternative, but if you remove the allergens from your home you won’t need to mask your symptoms with pills. All in all, you will be healthier and your home will be free of whats making you feel awful. Just keep your eyes on the much larger prize: no allergies!!!

Family Recipes Offer A Slice Of Life For Allergy Sufferers

We’ve all heard about walking in somebody else’s shoes to understand them better. Though we can never truly experience the life of a person afflicted with severe allergies, those of us without any can sure try. Dismissing someone’s allergies for the sake of simplicity is all too tempting. The fact is that if someone you love or respect has allergies, the best way to cope with it is to put yourself – as best you can – in his or her shoes.

There is no doubt this rule is always put to the test. My wife and I enjoy going out for dinner. How we go about planning or choosing a restaurant is different than most. First off, my wife Jennifer is allergic to an armada of assorted foods. Some examples include flour, wheat, eggs, nuts, potatoes, dairy, seafood, and corn. “The worse thing about my allergies is that I have already tried these foods before and I know what I’m missing,” she once told me. How the allergies arrived remains a mystery. It all comes down to the usual debate about environment or genetics. None have sufficiently given her some comfort.

What makes ordering off a menu so difficult is that some of these foods or ingredients are essentials in many cooking recipes. For example, it’s not enough for her to ask if any of the foods have come into contact with nuts. She needs to know exactly how all foods are prepared, and this can often feel like a heavy chore. No matter how diligent we are, we can never be sure. We put our trust in strangers and that leaves a hint of worry.

Many times she is tempted not to ask any questions and just order. This is exactly what she did on one occasion, and she nearly paid a heavy price for it. In her denial she proceeded to order an entrĂ©e at a restaurant without asking any questions. To her astonishment she was allergic to three-quarters of the dish. When she asked the waitress how a straight forward dish can become so avant-garde, the waitress apologized and said “Yes, the chef like to be adventurous with his dishes.”

Our friends have understood when it comes to choosing an establishment. They know Jennifer will have to pick the place. It’s made our job that much easier. As for the restaurants themselves, they have been more than accommodating in going the extra mile in making her feel comfortable.

“Restaurants are more open and aware than they were 15 years ago,” explains Peter Hrib, a chef at Sentaure Restaurant in Montreal. “The culture has changed. For example, at this establishment we have changed our menu to a nut free environment. Staff and cooks are also more sensitive and educated about allergies. More often than not, they themselves are close to someone with allergies.”Still, it’s a difficult process for her to endure. She has to painstakingly go over the menu with a server each time, all the while having to overcome her discomfort for putting people through such an ordeal. “Why can’t I be normal? I want to eat that!” usually escapes her mouth at the dinner table. She’ll often stare at what I’m eating and all I need to say is, “…it does not taste as good as it looks” – unless we are eating at my mother’s, in which case she knows I would be lying. Mr. Hrib puts it this way, “People should not feel burdened anymore. When it comes to your health, do not risk anything. Ask as many detailed questions as possible. We’re ready for it.”

Finding a place where we can eat well and in peace is tough. There is, however, one place where we feel right at home – at my mother’s. For my mom, Jennifer’s allergies had a wide impact on the family as well. Decades of stylized and personalized Italian cooking were suddenly altered for her daughter-in-law. It was a remarkable act of generosity as it’s not easy to change traditional recipes on the fly. Luckily, my mother is talented enough to make the adjustments and still make things taste great.

“How does it feel to have such an effect on my cultural household?” I once asked her, not knowing my attempt at humor would actually move my wife to light tears. “I can’t believe what your mother has done for me. She has gone way beyond anything I could have asked for.” “It’s nothing,” I told her. “It’s what most Mediterranean mothers do. They literally live to cook and feed.”

Whether in the fast-paced surroundings of a restaurant or within the confines of a comfortable home, allergies follow people everywhere. It’s important that everyone remains diligent and offers support to a person with allergies. It’s the least we can do, for we will never know how it truly affects them deep down. For my wife, it upsets her that she’ll never be able to try her mother in-law’s tiramisu. However, I would not be surprised if mom figures it all out. Nothing would make Jennifer – and me – happier.

Kicking Allergies Without Using Drugs

I suffer from allergies and not just the kind that come with the season, I either have a runny nose or a stopped up nose throughout most of the year. Taking care of my body is one of the most important things in my life but I often try to find a way to do it without taking medications. Medications often come with side effects and for something as small as allergies, I prefer to do it on my own without all the side effects.

Once way that you can succeed in getting rid of allergies in your home is to leave your shoes at the door. This works throughout the year and can also save you time on cleaning your floors. Such things as pollen, moss, mold, and other things seem to stick to the outdoor ground and then are carried in by the soul of your shoes. My family was nice enough to follow the rules when I told them that the house was going to be a no shoe house. Of course I have those moments when people drop by and I am not rude enough to tell them to take off their shoes so I simply just clean the floor once they leave.

Air filters can be magical when it comes to allergies. Most air filters work by allowing the air into the vent and then trapping the allergens into a filter while the air passes through it. Most air filters can be bought at stores like Wal-Mart and are usually very quite. Air filters can be a life saver when it comes to allergies.

There are other ways to protect your home from allergies such as dusting and cleaning often but most people don’t think to check their filters for the air conditioner or heater. I started cleaning my filters once a month and noticed a big difference.

If you have clutter, try getting rid of it. Clutter does nothing but collect dust and probably a few other things. If it is hard of you to get rid of a lot of your items, pack it up and store it in the attic just to get it out of the way for now.

Disinfectant sprays can now be purchased to fight mold and mildew, purchasing a bottle of this could help you to get rid of some problems in your air that you can not see. The funny thing about allergies is that you can verily see what causes your allergies and taking these precautions will help you to fight against allergens in the air and on the surface.

If you still can’t seem to tackle the allergies but you want to be able to live in comfort without all the medications, I have a few solutions that I have found to work for me and my children.

Make your own saline nasal spray by adding salt to water. This really does work and you can even save one of your old saline spray bottles to reuse with your home remedy for fighting allergy symptoms.

People who suffer from allergies also usually have a higher build up of mucous. If you want to thin out the mucous, try eating spicy foods. The spicier the better but it you are like me and a wimp when it comes to eating hot food, just add a little bit of hot sauce to your food and this should do the trick without burning a hole in your mouth.

If all else fails, take your mothers advice and stock up on soup. The steam from the soup will help to open up the passage way to your sinuses and will help with your allergies. If you are not into eating soup, you could always boil a pan of hot water and keep your head over it while covered with a towel.

Allergies can be a pain in the rump especially when it begins to interfere with your daily activities and doing such things as these, are sure to help you to live a better allergy free life.

Diet and Seasonal Allergies

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when the seasonal allergies kick in. The time when I feel like smacking that allergic bee with the stuffy nose and foreign accent that does the commercials for a decongestant. I get up every morning with a head that feels like lead and a Kleenex box that is almost empty. The problem was a lot worse when I was a child: It seemed that I was allergic to cats and dogs, feather pillows, and everything that grew outside. I had three different syrups that I was supposed to take. The pharmacist put them in dark brown bottles and I had to endure the awful taste like three times a day. There were also some over-the-counter remedies that my parents would try that included a white, milky liquid that was, I swear, the most horrible stuff that I have ever tasted. The only thing I remember about it was that it contained something from some kind of tree. The symptoms have lessened as I have gotten older; now an inconvenient plugged head instead of the whooping cough-like fits that I had when I was a kid.

The way that seasonal allergies work is that the body’s immune system responds to some kind of benign invader like a cat hair or some mold. In those who don’t suffer from allergies, the body has a genetic mechanism to help it realize that there is a false alarm. For those who suffer from allergies, however, that genetic code is missing, and the immune system overreacts. The histamines that the body produces are what causes all of the symptoms.

The first step in fighting allergies to get an accurate diagnosis. There are lifestyle changes and environmental modifications that can help. There is also a myriad of over-the-counter and prescription medications that you can take. For me, these medications work to alleviate the symptoms, but actually make me feel worse overall, thick and lethargic overall. Besides that, anything that you can boil down and make meth out of can’t be all that good for you.

Most all of the allopathic medical professionals maintain that there are no foods or drinks that can alleviate respiratory symptoms from allergies, despite all of the old wives tales that are out there. But some holistic health practitioners disagree. They believe that foods have different effects on the body and there are some foods that play an immuno-suppressing and immuno-enhancing role. The advice that they give may or may not have an effect on the allergy symptoms, but it’s probably not a bad idea to follow most of it anyway. Some believe that dairy products can increase the production of mucus. There has only been one scientific study about this and it said that there wasn’t any evidence that dairy consumption causes increased production of mucus. The other thing to avoid is sugar and processed foods. You should try to increase your intake of Omega-3’s, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can help too. Blueberries and cherries are especially good because they are high in antioxidants. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. You can continue taking your medications if they work for you, and then explore the food possibilities to see of any of them work. By making the right nutritional choices, you may be able to cut down on the amount of medication that you take.

Food Allergy Facts

Each year, more than 30,000 Americans end up in the emergency room after a food allergy attack. And, to make the picture even more frightening, many adults experience food allergies to foods they may have eaten for years. Allergic reactions to food can be sudden and severe. Prompt medical attention and treatment may be necessary so it’s wise to know the facts.

The eight most common foods that can cause severe and even life threatening food allergies are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish (shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Since these eight foods are part of many common items eaten everyday, it’s wise to check packaging before eating for anyone who has ever suffered a food allergic reaction. Beginning in January 2006 the United States Food and Drug Administration requires all food labels to clearly note any of the above foods so that allergy sufferers can be aware of the dangers.

Although some people have a lifelong sensitivity to food, a food allergy can happen without warning – even if you’ve eaten the food many times without any problems. If a minor reaction happens,. be sure to see a doctor because future reactions are likely to be much more severe.

Family members who have food allergies make us more prone to having an allergic reaction ourselves. If one parent has a food allergy, then the child is up to 40% more likely to have one as well. This is especially true for children of parents who are allergic to shellfish and peanuts. If you’re worried, your doctor can order a series of tests to determine if you too may be allergic to the same foods.

Because food allergies build up over time, you can’t be allergic to a food that you have never eaten before. Food allergies happen after the body develops an intolerance to a particular food. This can take months and in some cases years.

Some food allergies are aggravated by excercise which raises body temperatures and triggers the reaction. If reactions remain mild and only occur after eating a particular food, then working out, you may be able to tolerate the food in small amounts. Again, check with your doctor for the best advice and reccomendation.

Reactions happen fast when they do happen, anywhere from minutes to within two hours after eating.

The symptoms of a food allergy attack include a racing heartbeat, feeling dizzy or light-headed, wheezing, a tingling tongue, hives, the throat feels like it is closing, or hands, mouth, or throat itch. If any of these symptoms occur and it is the first time, take an over the counter antihistimine such as Benadryl and go to the emergency room.

Don’t fail to take an attack – even a first attack – seriouslyl Reactions can be fatal. About 150 Americans die each year from food allergies. Many of those who do die are aware of a serious food allergy but failed to get the drug epinephrine in time.
Epinephrine can keep blocked airways open and save a life. If diagnosed with a severe food allergy, most doctors will prescribe an EpiPen, an auto injector device filled with epinephrine to carry whereever you go. If an attack happens, it’s vital to give yourself a shot. For those with severe allergies, it can make the difference between life and death.

Although food allergy sufferers can avoid the trigger foods, there may be times when a hidden ingredient triggers an attack. If dining out, ask about ingredients in dishes and be cautious.

In addition to the eight major foods that cause reactions, there are many other foods that may present problems in some individuals. Remember that abdominal pain or stomach upset are NOT signs of a food allergy but may be from either indigestin or food intolerance, an uncomfortable but seldom life threatening disorder.

Hypoallergenic Dogs

Have allergy issues but still want the incomparable companionship from man’s best friend? There is a solution; a hypoallergenic dog. While all dogs are not completely allergy free, you can find some that will cause you less allergy problems.

Hypoallergenic dogs can be found in several breeds including the Peruvian Hairless Dog that was given to Obama’s family. The reason this dog is hypoallergenic is due the size and naked body. Although it is not the fur that people have allergic reactions to, a dog with out fur is less likely to shed dander everywhere if groomed correctly.

If a bald dog is not your cup of tea, there are hypoallergenic dog breeds that keep their “clothes” on. Some breeds include Poodles, Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, and Schnauzer. Keep in mind that these dogs will only be hypoallergenic to their full potential if they are cared for correctly.

All hypoallergenic dogs need to be brushed everyday. When brushing your dog, do it outside. Be sure to wash the brush when you are finished so dander doesn’t follow you back in. Follow up with frequent baths will keep the dander from shedding off your dog and throughout the house. The best shampoo to use on your dog is with allergen shampoo that will be gentle on his skin.

After your friend is all taken care of, you still need to take care of the house. If you bathe the dog, wash his bed too. In addition to his bedding, the floor should be the only other place he sleeps and should not be allowed on the furniture; but what pet lover doesn’t bend the rules now and then? Still, you need to vacuum your floors and furniture. Maybe even invest in an air purifier if you have acute allergies. Over all the household cleaning, the number one thing to do is to always wash your hands after care, even after feeding. What goes on your hands ends up on you.

Future hypoallergenic dog owners beware: you will not react to the same to every breed or even every dog encountered within the same breed. Research the breed of hypoallergenic dog you are interested in. Then go hang out with one and see how your allergies react. If you were pleased with the result, introduce yourself to another. Several different dogs of the same breed will give you a better idea of your sensitivities and if it’s a good idea to own more than one. Puppies are also different than adult dogs so if you desire a puppy, remember that it will grow up. When babies, they have less skin and different make up of an adult dog. A puppy will generally trigger less allergy reactions in everyone.

Taking care of the dog to keep it hypoallergenic isn’t all you need to keep in mind when thinking about bringing a dog into your home. Having a pet is a lifetime responsibility. Every breed is different when it comes to personality and exercise needs. Be sure that you can provide every thing he is going to need to fulfill his end of the bargain of being a good dog.

Do your research on the one you pick and a couple to meet. Bald dog or not, if you are wanting companionship without the burning eyes and runny nose, there’s a hypoallergenic dog waiting somewhere for you.

Dust Allergy Survival Guide

For those of you who have constant allergies who’s symptoms seem to be vague or untraceable, you may have an allergy to dust, or rather the waste matter deposited by dust mites after they feed off the skin of you and your pets. This waste matter becomes airborne every time you move about the room or take off your shirt, or even breathe!

Detect Your Allergy

The first thing you need to do if you have persistent allergies is to see an allergist who can administer a skin prick test. Let me tell you, this test will really open up your eyes and show you just how wrong you’ve been about your allergies. For years I thought my allergies were the seasonal pollen and mold allergies, but low and behold on that day in the allergists office, I saw a huge welt develop where the dust mite substance had been applied.

For thirty years I’d been completely barking up the wrong tree! Everywhere I’d ever lived during my entire lifetime, I’d been doing exactly the wrong things to control a dust allergy.

An Affordable Way To Detect The Dust

Although extremely expensive, an air quality monitor can be very helpful in seeing how much dust is in your house. There are very few of these made for residences, and some of the hand-held ones can be up around $2000 or more! One of the best I’ve seen, and I own one, is the Dylos Air Quality Monitor. This relatively cheap laser reader, under $200, can at least let you know the particle density in the air and show you when the room is “settled”. What I mean by “settled” is that if you sit in your home office with the Dylos nearby, the gauge will show a low reading. However, when you stand up and move around, the meter starts to jump because you are moving around the dust that has collected in your room. I never knew just how much particles are swirled into the air just by standing up!

One of the things I noticed right away was that using an air purifier greatly reduced the overall average of particles in the air, especially when I moved around.

At least I had something to work with!

What To Do About Dust Allergies

The first and easiest method is to take some kind of medication for your dust allergy. The only two types that have ever worked for me are antihistamine’s (spray or pill) and steroid-type solutions. For years I tried several medications that worked for the most part but caused side effects. Claritin, Kenalog and Nasonex kept me clear but often gave me weird feelings of anxiety of stomach problems if taken too often. There’s a medication out there that will work for you, but you may have to go through some trial and error. Regardless of what works for you, I would not recommend NOT taking them everyday even if your doctor says it is OK. I use medications for one or two weeks until the worst part of the allergic reaction is over and then lay off of them for awhile.

The next best thing, of course, is to try to make your home as dust free as possible so you can avoid taking medications that will have an adverse affect on your body. This will mean you will have to do multiple light chores, likely on a daily basis, in order to keep the particle density in your home down. This means a lot of dusting for you!

First rule of thumb. Never dry dust! Unless, of course, you are a glutton for punishment and want to spend the next five days breathing through a dry mouth! Use a wet cloth and gently wipe it across the surface. Dust tables, TV’s knick knacks and even ceiling fan blades this way. What I like to use are the disinfecting wipes made available by many name brands. The smell nice and make the dusting job easier for you. Or, if your vacuum cleaner is powerful enough, you can do a most of your dusting by utilizing the many dusting attachments that likely came with your vacuum. Make sure to dust ceiling fans, bathroom vents and intake and outtake vents. You will be surprised at how nasty these can get. Get rid of clutter. Gently! Try to keep your house as clutter free as possible. Knick knacks only store more dust and make things harder on you. Ideally, you would keep just enough around to be decorative but make it easy for you to clean with a vacuum or some light dusting.

Are hardwood floors better than carpet for dust allergies? There are a lot of theories pointing in both directions. Some say that carpet traps more dust than hardwood, so that when you walk over a carpet it actually kicks up less dust than walking across a hardwood floor. Regardless of the type of flooring you use, keeping it maintained is essential to reducing allergic reactions due to allergies. One thing is clear though, hardwood floors are better for controlling the moisture levels in your home. If you are going to stick with carpet, then get a good, HEPA vacuum. Canisters seem to be the best because they are fully enclosed and ventilate a clean stream of air that sometimes is cleaner than some of the best air filtration units. The canister design, at least until recent years, has been able to house more powerful motors for more suction. The canister’s mobility and versatile head adjustments make it a better device regardless of your flooring. In addition, get a relatively good “steam vac” like a Hoover Steam Vac or a Bissell that will wet down the carpet and really pick up any dirt or dust. These can also run a couple of hundred dollars, but if you are determined to have carpet, you will need one.

Another very good idea is to get good casings for your pillows and bed that will help keep the dust mites locked in so they have less of a chance to come out and cause trouble. I recommend getting casings for you mattress, pillows and even the box spring. Along with this, make sure to wash your bedding every 7-10 days in hot water to kill any mites that may be living there. These particular steps are very important considering your face is buried in your pillow when you sleep and so you are more susceptible to breathing dust mite debris.

Although they can be expensive, get some good HEPA air filtration units for your home and make sure to keep up on changing the filter when it’s time. I have several units placed strategically around my home for maximum filtration. There are many name brands available in all price ranges. As long as they are proven to filter dust and mold particles then you should be good with just about any model. Any air filtration unit is better than none. Also, make sure to change the filter in your home’s furnace unit on a regular basis. These filters are relatively cheap and easy to change.

If you have pets, frequently sweep the areas where they spend the most time, and try to keep your pets as well groomed as possible. Dogs can be bathed rather frequently, and for cats you can get some of those handy cat bath wipes that help reduce allergens residing in your cat’s fur. I favor the wipes because giving a cat a normal bath in a sink or tub is just way to stressful for you and your cat.

Finally, create a dust chore chart to keep track of your daily chores. This can be as simple as a list on the refrigerator or something scribbled onto a notepad.

What I ended up doing is creating an excel spreadsheet with a list of chores across the top. Down the left side I put in the days of the week. At the bottom is a cell that counts up the amount of X’s I put for each chore through the week and measures how well I did that week. It let’s me know how long it’s been since doing a particular chore and only takes a second to fill in.

You’ll never accomplish everything you want with regards to keeping your house clean, but with a little determination and a good plan you can have a clean air home and greatly reduce your dependency on allergy medicines. Being smart about keeping the air cleaner in your home will result in better health and a more comfortable quality of life for you and your family. Even if you only accomplish 70 or 80% of what you had originally planned, it should still greatly reduce the amount of itchy eyes, runny nose and the myriads of other symptoms that affect you due to your dust allergy.

Do You Have a Cell Phone Allergy?

Is your face red, itchy and scaly? Don’t blame it on your cosmetics. It could be your cell phone. With so many people using cell phones these days, cell phone allergy is becoming more common. Most people don’t realize that cell phones can trigger allergic reactions. Why would this be?

Cell Phone Allergy: What Causes It?

Most cell phones contain nickel, a metal that many people are allergic to. If you’re allergic to nickel, you may experience symptoms of contact dermatitis such as scaly skin patches and redness along with intense itching. Most people blame it on a new skin or cosmetic product they’re using, never realizing it’s coming from the nickel in their cell phone.

Why Are so Many People Allergic to Nickel?

Nickel allergies are more common in women with up to one in five women being affected. The number of people with allergy to nickel has risen in this country over the last few decades because of repeated exposure to the metal from body piercings and cell phones.

Repeated exposure to nickel over time causes the body to become “sensitized” to it, which leads to the symptoms of nickel allergy. Other sources of nickel exposure are jewelry, eyeglass frames, belt buckles, coins, watchbands, keys and dental appliances such as fillings and braces.

What Can You Do About a Cell Phone Allergy?

Few people are willing to give up their cell phone. If you believe you’re allergic to nickel, choose a cell phone that doesn’t have a metal casing, or place a protective plastic coating over the metal so it doesn’t touch your skin. Nickel allergies don’t go away and repeated exposure to nickel will only sensitize the skin more and worsen the symptoms. If you’re allergic to nickel, avoid sources of this metal too. If you believe you’re allergic to nickel, you can purchase a test kit online that detects whether there’s nickel in the products you use. These tests are easy-to-use and reasonably priced.

Cell Phone Allergy: The Bottom Line?

If you have a scaly, itchy face and use a cell phone, you could be allergic to nickel. See an allergist and get tested.


Medical News Today. “Allergies Commonly Caused by Cell Phones, Tattoos, Body Piercings and Cosmetics”. “Nickel Allergies: Implications for Practice”.