Spring & Summertime Allergens, Let's Get Prepared Part 2
In part one of this post I talked about how to prep for the warmer seasons and the health issues it brings along with it's sunny days and blue skies. :() In part 2 I'll build on allergen issues like mold and bug bites!
[ Roxanne despises bathroom cleaning, especially toilets! But she knows the importance of this grueling work to keep the bath mold free. ]
Let's begin with mold which exists in the summer and fall months but certain mold spores peak in the late summer. Most common allergic reactions to mold occur in July to early fall. Mold, and mildew are fungi and their seeds are called spores which travel through the air. Molds can grow on old leaves, and tree logs, in piles of compost on grains and in grasses, and in moist, damp and wet areas In the spring they grow and spread on plants that die from the cold weather. Inside the home mold is most often found in basements, bathrooms and kitchens, however mold can be found in other areas of the home like windows, under carpets under the refrigerator, outdoors by the home's foundation [ leakage ], and other warm moist areas.
Mold spores can get into your nose which brings on allergies, sinus and hay fever problems, and into your lungs which trigger asthma. Often times with some people, the reaction to mold is gradual with nasal congestion, cold like symptoms and just worsening of asthma. If any of these symptoms become persistent you may wan to check for mold, and of course with your doctor.
[ Clawdie shows off these food choices she can no longer consume for they dramatically effect her asthma, this includes dishes made with these fermented foods as the nitrites in the wines remain even AFTER cooking. ]
There are foods that contain yeast, and mold [ think cheese] such as mushrooms, wine, dried fruit, vinegars and soy sauce that are considered food fungi and in most cases don't cause the same allergic reactions as to non-edible mold. However, that can vary from person to person, as I am highly allergic to all of those foods mentioned above, [ except naturally dried fruit without sulfites and nitrites ]. All of these foods trigger my asthma immediately, and may do so in others who don't realize it. These fermented foods like wine contain Histamine which can trigger allergy responses when consumed.
Just as with pollen, if you live with asthma and allergies, limit your time spent outdoors when the mold counts are high, because the goal is to inhale as few of these dreaded spores as possible! Mask it up when engaging in yard work like grass cutting, gardening and such. [ wearing protective clothing helps keep these offending allergens off of your skin too]. Clothing that's light both in fabric and in color, but offers full coverage of the arms and legs is preferable. I know what you're thinking, But it's hot in the summer!! If extra coverage helps keep you and your home allergen 'lite' and saves you from extra suffering, isn't it worth it?
Basement care is optimal for mold control:
Making sure your take the time to clean your dryer free from dust, clean and routinely clean the inside will keep mold at bay is a win win situation! Washers and clothes dryers can be a source of mold growth as they are wet and damp. Keeping the more to your washer open between washes is helpful to allow it to dry out.
[ Lemon's not happy to help out with spring cleaning and home maintenance! ]
Also, running the washer with hot water and 1 cup of bleach every so often will help to remove odors and mildew. Another great tip is to use the right amount of detergent when washing. Using too much washing soap causes extra suds and film residue inside the machine.
Dryer care is important too. It's important to always clean out the vent where dust and clothing lent collects. Since I have asthma and allergies I make sure to cover my nose and mouth when caring for our dryer. Fortunately, my hubby is helpful and usually does this job :D Wiping down the top and sides of the dryer is also allergy preventive because it loves to collect and have a party in these places! The dryer vent should regularly be cleaned, and there are a number of vids on this like the one above. There are also dryer cleaning kits available in most home and hardware stores like Home Depot.
[ Willow's relieved to have organized a home cleaning schedule with the other ladies, when everyone does their part no one suffers as much wit allergies and asthma! ]
Bathrooms, during and after baths, and showers to let out extra moisture. Thoroughly cleaning shower stall and tubs especially in places where mold gathers like in between grout will cut down on fungi as it thrives on soap and other wet products that coat tubs and shower stalls.
[ Lemon is NOT here for this! :D ]
Dehumidifiers are your best friend! I've said this before but it's that important. An electric dehumidifier REMOVES moisture and keeps humidity in check. It's important to remember [ i've often forgot! :O ] to drain the humidifier and clean the condensation coils and where water collects on the regular! Changing the filters in your furnace twice yearly will further prevent your form breathing in all the muck that hangs in the air waiting to trigger asthma and allergies.
Outdoor areas of the home are important and it does make a difference to maintain your gutters because when they become over full they leak an cause more moisture around and even in the house. There's so much home maintenance for fighting mold and allergens but our health will be so much better because of it! My hubby and I divide these steps in small blocks, monthly so that we don't become overwhelmed. But, yes... we still moan and gripe about having to do it!! :
In order to treat mold allergies, you should keep taking your medications for your sinus and or other allergy and asthma issues, make every attempt to avoid being exposed to it [mold] and work to keep the offending mold at bay as best as you can. Also make sour you're getting in your nutrients such as disease fighting omegas, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients that come from fruits and veggies fresh juices and smoothies and real foods in lieu of processed foods filled with health reducing chemicals and additives! Having asthma, I get weekly allergy shots as my allergist says this also helps with my allergies and asthma to reduce my symptoms.
[ Bee-ware! :D ]
Bug bites come right along with warm weather, and that means wasps, bees, yellow jackets, and other icky little creatures that can cause reactions with their bites! If you know you're allergic to bees then you're well aware of the importance of carrying with you at all times your epi-pen, however many people aren't aware of any allergic reactions as they've never been stung [ me included! ].
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to bites are breathing trouble, swelling of the tongue and throat, swelling of other parts of the body, hives, even dizziness and cramps and nausea and diarrhea. It's important to know that these could all be symptoms of a sever reaction to bug and insect bites. Obviously, if you experience trouble breathing get to a hospital asap. You may consider wearing closed shoes if you're going to be in grassy or woodsy areas, and avoid applying highly scented products especially sweet ones as they attract bees.
Something I'm going to do, that I probably should've before, is to start wearing a medic alert bracelet [for my asthma and antibiotic allergies]. Medical alert jewelry is a smart choice and it could save your life. Not to worry, there are so many attractive choices now of jewelry to wear with the medic alert tag incorporated into the design; or consider carrying a medical alert card in you wallet, or keeping the information on your phone [ my hubby and I have done this for years, and let me say, the hospital staff is Very grateful for it as it's easy access to important medical info needed before surgery, or even a doctor's office visit. :] One website that has a variety of choices for med alert wearables is www.americanmedical-id.com
Seasonal fruits and nuts can also be an issue in the warmer months. I personally experience issues with some of the seasonal fruits during this time, Such fruits include: Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Prunes, Pears,Mangoes, Bananas, and tropical fruits like Pineapple. Many of these fruits cause a cross reaction from pollens nuts and some spices because they are 'related' to some of the botanical families and that means their Pollens. An example of this would be those who are allergic or sensitive to ragweed may have reactions to melons [Me! Cantaloupe & Honeydew, & Bananas :/ ], cucumber and bananas. People allergic to birch tree pollen are more apt to have sensitivities to apples, cherries, carrot, soybeans, apricots, and peanuts. People with mugwort [ No relation to Harry Potter! :() ] may react to garlic, bell peppers, onion, cauliflower and broccoli. Grass allergies may bring cross reactions to potatoes, tomatoes melons and oranges. I unfortunately have experienced cross reactions to many of these foods, although getting allergy shots has definitely helped. [ I can eat cherries once again Woo Hoo!! ]
Symptoms of cross reactions from summer fruits range from itchiness of the mouth and lips and tongue to swelling of the throat, to hoarseness to asthma attacks. The only way to really tell if you have these sensitivities or allergies is to see your doctor who will most likely refer you to an Allergist for a skin prick test. These specific tests help to determine which allergies you may be having to foods and your environment.
Sunblock reactions are common in the summer and the reason is because of an allergy to the active ingredient [chemicals] as well as fragrances which are usually artificial. Reactions generally occur on areas of the body actually exposed to the sun such as the face, forearms, chest area neck and the back of hands. If it is determined that you are experiencing reactions to sunscreen because of skin sensitivities, you should stop using it and switch to a brand that is made with more natural ingredients, there are more of these coming onto the market each year. Goodhousekeeping.com has a list of good and affordable pics for safer sunscreens from the Environmental Working Group" annual Sunscreen Guide.
Last on the list of allergen alerts is Poison Ivy. This plant is found around bodies of water but it can grow in backyards too. Poison ivy has a coating of sap that contain a substance called Urushiol which causes that uncomfortable and often painful itching, burning red rash, and blisters. Avoiding exposure is the only way to avoid being infected. What you wear is important, coverage is preferable meaning long sleeves, pants and closed toed shoes while in wooded and other outdoor areas where poison ivy is common. [lakes, rivers, and other watery areas ] Careful of your pets as they too can expose you to poison ivy, so keeping an eye on where they roam in your yard or other areas is smart! Remember to give them a good wipe down or bath often during these warmer months.
Although it takes some extra steps in order to be able to enjoy the spring and summer months for those with asthma and allergies, it's a worthwhile endeavor when the reward is better health, less suffering, and the confidence of being armed with the proper knowledge to protect you and your loved ones from what I call 'avoidables'. Those things in which we seek avoidance for a peace of mind and a comfortable summer season!
[ Willow consoles Lemon after having to 'deal with' the basement! Lemon is so full of drama :D ]
Being allergic means keeping your areas free of debris and potential allergens that can make their way into your lungs, and sinuses! I carry a container in my car of cleansing wipes to help manage my asthma and my overall health! This link will lead you to a multiple pack of Lysol wipes that are free of dyes and fragrances!
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