Seasonal Allergies, Triggers, and Cleaning Your Indoor Air
The beauty of spring can be misleading - it brings with it the onset of seasonal allergies that can make your life miserable, and can especially affect your kids. One out of every seven children experiences seasonal allergies. Symptoms start in early spring and may last all the way into fall. The best way to reduce their severity is to reduce exposure to allergic triggers. For the most common allergic trigger – airborne plant pollen – it's essential to get a HEPA air purifier and ensure you and your family breathes clean, healthy air.
Causes and Effects of Allergies
Seasonal allergies are sometimes called allergic rhinitis or even hay fever. Symptoms flare up when you're exposed to an allergic trigger. Everyone's triggers are individual, but common ones include pollen, pet dander, dust, and so on. When speaking of pollen, you naturally think of flowers, but bees actually carry floral pollen. The most common allergic trigger is actually weed pollen from plants like ragweed, thistle or sagebrush. Kentucky bluegrass also produces allergic pollen, as do trees like oak, elm, and ash. These kinds of pollen blow in the wind and easily enter your nasal passages. When such an allergic trigger comes into contact with your nasal membranes, the body's immune system kicks in, releasing histamines to fight off what it sees as an invader. Histamines cause all the typical symptoms of an allergic reaction – itching, runny eyes and nose, coughing, sneezing, and congestion. While these symptoms are hardly life-threatening, they do impact the way you feel and can affect your children's ability to concentrate in school. They're not to be taken lightly.
Risk Factors for Allergies
What causes sensitivity in some people over others is a bit of a question. A family history of allergies definitely contributes. New research also suggests that the overuse of antibiotics may be linked to allergies. If true, it provides an explanation as to why allergies have been on the rise for the past four decades. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria and as a result, the immune system doesn't receive the beneficial effects of those good bacteria.
Many people take over-the-counter medications to fight off allergy symptoms. While not inherently bad, like every medication, they come with side effects. One of the most significant with allergy medications is drowsiness. They can make you feel fuzzy and tired and unable to face the day, in effect switching one set of irritants for another. Further, use of antihistamines for extended periods of time has been linked to anxiety, depression, and even impaired thinking abilities. There are ways to address allergy symptoms without taking pills every day. The allergic triggers cause the reaction, so it follows that reduced exposure to triggers can help reduce symptoms generally. The obvious way is to clean the air, most especially the air that children breathe. Since nasal membranes are the primary site of irritation, clearing the air of allergic triggers can help lessen children's exposure to the very substances that their bodies reject. And the proven way to purify your air is with a HEPA air puriifer.
HEPA Filters for Clean Air
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the very best in air filtration. They trap 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns and above. Parents should purchase a quality model from a leading manufacturer and run them all the time. They trap pollen, dust, pet dander, and many other airborne particles, removing them from the air so that they don't end up irritating children's nasal passages and causing an allergic reaction.
Parents should also take other steps to reduce sources of allergic triggers. Keep windows shut on windy days. Remove old carpets. Vacuum often, but only when children are away from the room. Cover air vents with filters. Wash bedding and stuffed animals in hot water at least once a week. Cleansing the nasal passages with a saline solution can also help. And pay attention to the food children eat. Many people are allergic to wheat and dairy, but don't realize it. It may help to limit them during allergy season. Eating more of the foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories may also help, like fish, nuts, berries, tomatoes, and oranges. Antioxidants fight the damage caused by free radicals, making them ideal for helping boost immunity. Herbal teas that contain anti-inflammatories like nettle and red clover can also help soothe allergic symptoms. While natural medicine may also help strengthen the immune system, the tried-and-true method of reducing exposure to airborne allergens is the use of a HEPA filter. Getting a HEPA air purifier should be first on the list for anyone looking to clear the air of irritants.
- Administration Staff