Monday, 9 December 2013

9 Habits That Make Allergies Worse

Here are some habits which allergy sufferers may not be aware that are harming them in the long run. Take a look - are you practising any of these habits? If you are, its time to make a change in the coming new year!
 
1. Stressful work deadlines
Stress hormones may stimulate the production of IgE, blood proteins that cause allergic reactions, says study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD. If you’re under stress, get enough sleep. A sleep deficit can worsen both allergy symptoms and stress, she says.
 
Indeed, I noticed this pattern for myself. Whenever I lack sleep, my allergy will flare up.
 
2. Alcohol
Alcohol can raise the risk of perennial allergic rhinitis by 3% for every additional alcoholic beverage consumed each week, Danish researchers found. One potential reason: Bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce histamines, chemicals that cause tell tale allergy symptoms like stuffy nose and itchy eyes. Avoid alcohol when your symptoms are acting up, says Richard F. Lockey, MD, director of the division of allergy and immunology at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.
 
This is not a big problem for me as I'm not a heavy drinker. I only drink on some occasions and do not consume a lot of it.
 
3. Waiting too long to take medicine
Medications that block histamines work best before you’re even exposed to allergens, says allergist James Sublett, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Start medication a couple of weeks before the season commences or before you’ll be around allergens.
 
4. A not-hot-enough washing machine
In a South Korean study, laundering cotton sheets at 140°F killed 100% of dust mites, while a warm 104°F wash destroyed just 6.5%.
 
Very hot water may damage the bedding sheets for some, so I highly recommend using anti dust mite bedding cover instead. I am using them and they are a life-saver!
 
5. Houseplants that make you sneeze
More than 75% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to at least one common houseplant, found a Belgian study. Allergens in plant sap can diffuse into the air and set off your sniffling. Though any potted greens can be trouble, researchers found that ficus, yucca, ivy, palm, orchid, and fern varieties are most irritating to allergy-prone people.
 
Here's some tips on allergy-friendly gardening.
 
6. Skipping medication in the evening
One time not to forget your allergy med? Before bed—so the medication will be circulating in your bloodstream early the next day. Symptoms such as sneezing, weepy eyes, and runny nose peak in the morning, says Richard J. Martin, MD, chair of the department of medicine at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.
 
I am allergic to dust mite, so I can't tell when I will get into contact with one and trigger my allergy, unlike seasonal allergy. If I have a very, very important event to attend to in the morning (when my allergy tends to be the worst) and no way I want to risk having my allergy act up, I will take the antihistamine just before sleep. Be careful which type of antihistamine you take before sleep though. Some may cause insomnia. Check out my experience here.
 
7. Water workouts in an indoor pool
Chlorine-filled lap lanes can wreak havoc on your system. Used to disinfect, chlorine is highly irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. And a recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that teens who log more than 100 hours in a chlorinated pool have a 3 to 7 times higher risk of developing hay fever, compared with swimmers who dunk in chlorine-free pools
 
Try outdoor pool where the gas is more readily dispersed and wear goggles to protect your eyes.

8. Smoking & being around friends who smoke
Cigarettes—with their numerous toxic chemicals and irritants—are nasty for everyone, but allergy sufferers may be especially sensitive, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In fact, one Japanese study of teenage students found that more than 80% of those who came from homes where family members smoked heavily showed signs of nasal allergies.

 
I hate the smell of cigarette smoke! And I find it very inconsiderate of those who smoke in areas where they are not legally supposed to e.g inside the lift.

9. Showering in the morning only
If you’re prone to pollen allergies, slip off your shoes, throw your clothes in the hamper, and shower as soon as you get home to avoid dragging particles all over your home. That’s because hidden pollen particles can get trapped on your body, hair, clothes, and shoes—continuing to trigger symptoms after you’ve returned indoors.

Adapted from: Prevention.com