Managing Indoor Allergies Without Meds

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While most people focus on outdoor allergies, indoor allergies can be just as debilitating. Su and Jonathan discuss strategies for dealing with them that avoids OTC and prescription meds. Also see our feature, Medicine-Free Methods of Dealing with Indoor Allergies.

Su Robotti: Hello, I’m Su Robotti, and I’m the founder of MedShadow.

Jonathan Block: Hi, I’m Jonathan Block, I’m the content manager here at MedShadow.

SR: Today, Jonathan and I are going to talk to you about household allergies. I know everybody is talking about seasonal allergies, but household allergies bother you the whole year round. And by household allergies we mean…

JB: Things such as dust, mites, if you’re allergic to your cat or dog, and something really disgusting that you might find in your bathroom, mold.

SR: Mold. Well, but they have a lot of medicines for allergy relief, and it’s one of the biggest advertisers on TV. And you might wonder why you shouldn’t just pop a pill and you know, be clear everyday. And all that kind of stuff, and some people will do that, and be perfectly happy doing that.

We have mentioned our concerns about the side effects of the medicines that we take and long-term effects of medicines, and when we can afford to take medicines we do. The reasons that we would avoid — I avoid — taking allergy medicines is because in general, allergy medicines have a tendency to make you very drowsy, to make you dizzy, make you nauseous. They can give you restlessness, confusion, blurred vision.

If that’s not enough for you, they also put stress on your kidney and your liver that you may not need, and they can interact with other drugs that don’t have a substitute that you do have to take. So, we normally try to encourage people to seek out alternatives to take new medicines where possible.

So, what are the alternatives, Jonathan?

JB: Right, a lot of the alternatives really depends on what your allergy is. For example, with dust, one of the things that you can do is first of all, you want to vacuum your carpeting as often as possible because dust can collect in there. Another thing when it comes to vacuuming is that you want to have a vacuum that has something called a HEPA filter. It’s a special type of filter that can help trap some of the dust and other potential allergens that are in the air. Another thing is that if you have the budget for it, you might just want to get rid of the carpeting all together because that’s an area where dust can go and collect.

SR: But isn’t that going to build up in the next carpet also? Do we replace it every year?

JB: No, no. What I was saying is to get rid of the carpeting. Let’s say you get a hardwood floor, something of that nature, you also want to keep the environment as dry as possible. If you keep it dry, that tends to help alleviate some of the dust.

SR: What can you do about a cat or a dog allergy?

JB: Right. That’s a little bit more difficult to contend with. You may have heard that there are hypoallergenic dogs and cats. That kind of doesn’t exist. What you want to do is you want to minimize your exposure to Fido or Fluffy or whatever the name of your pet is. That may mean keeping them outside for a period of time, keeping them out of your bedroom, so that when you go to sleep, you’re not having any sort of allergic reaction.

You also want to eliminate things around the house where the pet dander, which is one of the things that contribute to you having allergies, might collect. That would might mean, if you have covers on your furniture, you might want to remove those. If you have drapes, that’s another area where pet dander can go and collect.

The other important thing is to wash your pet about once a week because that helps eliminate excess dander rather than not washing the pet and have that collect all over the place.

SR: How do we use rubber gloves to wash the pet that you’re allergic too?

JB: Exactly.

JB: One of the other things that I mentioned before has to do with contending with mold, which of course, you’re going to find in places like your bathroom. In order to prevent that from happening, you want to eliminate any standing water you might have in your bathroom or near it. Get a dehumidifier in the bathroom because obviously mold feeds on humidity. If you have a carpet in your bathroom, you might want to consider getting rid of that.

Another thing is that the mold likes to grow in your bathtub on soap film that is left behind after you take a shower. So once a week, in order to get rid some of that soap film which mold is attracted to, you want to make a mixture of water and a little bit of household bleach and that should get rid of the soap film and also make your bathtub look a lot shiny and make it a little harder for mold to grow inside your bathtub.

SR: I did not know that mold fed on soap scum–

JB: Yes it does.

SR: That’s what my mother use to make me wash the tub out after I took a bath, but I thought she was just trying to annoy me. Okay, is that it for our tips today?

JB: Yeah. Basically, what we’re trying to emphasize here as you mentioned earlier is that, yes, there are medications out there for allergies. But by doing some simple things around the house, you can eliminate the allergens that are there, that you may not even need to take a allergy medication or perhaps take less of a dose.

SR: Good, thank you for watching and for more information, please go to our website at www.medshadow.org.

JB: Thank you.
[Episode 24]

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