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Living with Allergies

Living with Allergies, a guide to survival

Allergies are increasing at an alarming rate, with now up to 20 million people, that's about a third of the population, suffering at one time or another.
Another worrying factor is the rise of previously rare allergies, such as peanut allergy, kiwi fruit, or avocado. In some cases these allergies are severe enough to result in death.
Many allergy sufferers have more than one allergy, food, hay fever, and asthma, eczema, which together can have a serious impact upon their lives.
Here we outline a few steps to help people identify their allergy, find out ways to resolve their symptoms, and get on with their lives with minimal fuss.

Tips for detecting allergy.
  1. First, keep an allergy diary, noting down when you experience a reaction, what you were doing at the time, and anything that you did that was out of the ordinary, such as eating a different food, or going somewhere different.
  2. Try to identify the main suspects.
  3. Ask your GP for a referral to either an allergist, an immunologist or a dermatologist, depending on your condition.
  4. When you have established what is the main cause of your allergy, you can alter your lifestyle to avoid this substance.

Tips for success
  1. Ensure you take your medication regularly as advised by your practitioner.
  2. Monitor your breathing with a peak flow meter so that you can predict an oncoming attack.
  3. Always carry your medication with you.
  4. Invest in a nebulizer for use at home or while away.
  5. Find out your triggers (things that can lead to an attack) and avoid them.

  1. Keep skin well moisturized, even when clear of eczema, using a non-cosmetic moisturiser called an emollient.
  2. Avoid scratching, as this can lead to infection.
  3. Wear cotton clothing, avoid synthetic materials.
  4. Encase your mattress with a good cotton dust mite proof cover, 85% of eczema sufferers are sensitive to house dust mite.
  5. Avoid soap, harsh chemicals and conventional sun creams, these can all aggravate sensitive skin
  6. Follow your health professional's instructions for using steroid creams and ointments. Combine them with the regular use of emollients.
  7. Identify and manage triggers where possible. Triggers may include irritants, skin infections, food allergy and inhaled allergens

Dust Mite Allergy
  1. Encase your mattress and pillow with a dust mite proof cover
  2. Remove all carpets and un-necessary fabric furnishings as they are a breeding ground for dust mites
  3. Keep humidity levels lower than 50% as dust mites need high humidity to flourish
  4. Keep your home well ventilated
  5. Damp dust shelves and ornaments
  6. Steam cleaning is an effective way to kill dust mites
  7. Use a hepa filtered vacuum cleaner

Food Allergy
  1. Familiarise yourself with all the different ways the food can appear on labels, for example, milk can appear as milk, whey or casein.
  2. Always carry an epi-pen and know how to use it in case of anaphylaxis
  3. Avoid all contact with the food and ask for support for this within the school or work environment

Hay Fever
  1. Take your preferred choice of medicine, either prescribed or herbal regularly throughout the hay fever season.
  2. Keep windows closed mid morning and early evening, as this is when the pollen count is the highest
  3. Don't line dry washing, or you will be carrying the pollen indoors with you
  4. Wear sunglasses to avoid pollen going in your eyes

Pet Allergy
  1. Shampoo your pet in allergen neutralising shampoo
  2. Launder the pet bed at high temperatures of with an allergen neutralising detergent
  3. Spray clothing and furnishings with a allergen neutralising spray

Chemical Sensitivity
  1. Eliminate all chemicals and highly scented products from your home, and replace with neutral alternatives
  2. Invest in a good air purifier with a carbon filter that can deal with odours as well as particles.
  3. Buy furniture that has been prepared with low odour varnishes and glue, not mdf which can give a lot of chemical out gassing
  4. Remove all man made and chemically treated carpets and soft furnishings and replace with unbleached organic alternative
  5. Wear unbleached natural fibres.
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