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Mercy St. Joseph's
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Chronic Sinus Problems
Sneezes, wheezes, sniffles and coughs plague millions of allergy sufferers, most of whom blame external and atmospheric conditions for their misery. The fact is that up to half of the 35 million victims of allergy attacks are being assailed by allergens hiding in their very own homes.
We treat victims of sneaky household allergens on a daily basis. An allergen is classified as any substance that can cause an allergic reaction, ranging from mold spores, dust, and dust mites to such things as pet hair and insect stings. They can be manifested in the most unlikely of places.
Molds are a common allergen, and are actually microscopic fungi. The airborne spores can cause hay fever-like symptoms and headaches. The humid bathroom environment is prime mold territory. Indoor plants often harbor mold in their potting soil, and dried flowers frequently contain molds.
Refrigerators are a "hot spot" for mold. We recommend that old food and condiments be disposed of frequently and that the entire refrigerator is cleaned at least twice a year. But these microscopic allergens may also enter the home from the outside. Dense foliage around a home holds in moisture, and shady, damp areas of decaying vegetation provide ideal breeding grounds for mold.
We can provide you with a checklist of environmental factors that can be corrected to reduce the presence of mold in the home. Most patients are surprised that we also provide a list of foods to avoid that frequently contain molds. Delicatessen meats, ketchup, cantaloupe and all cheeses are among the offenders.
Rivaling molds are dust and dust mites as frequent in home allergens. We find that environmental controls in the bedroom - where most people spend a third of their lives - can cause a marked improvement in the dust-allergy sufferer's condition.
Dust mites love mattresses because they feed on shed scales of human skin and they love warm, humid conditions. It is actually the waste particles produced by the dust mite that cause the allergic reaction. Consider that a single mite can produce up to 20 particles a day, and that literally millions of dust mites can inhabit an infested mattress -- leaving you with quite an allergy haven.
House dust is a special substance, it is derived from the disintegration of organic substances and fabrics found in the home, and is not to be confused with "dust" outdoors which is normally non-allergenic. This, too feeds the dust mite, and is of its own a potent allergen that should be eliminated from the bedroom environment. Doing so can provide an allergy-free zone in which the allergic patient can recover from a day's exposure to dust and mold.
We recommend the following procedures for an allergy-free bedroom: replace down-filled pillows with synthetic ones; encase mattresses and pillows with plastic dust-covers; do not allow pets into the bedroom (they are walking dust-mops!); wash linens often; and vacuum frequently. If possible, vacuum at least an hour before the allergy sufferer will enter the room so that the dust will have a chance to settle.
Pets are often touchy subjects with patients, but pet owners with animal allergies must make certain concessions in order to relieve their own suffering. These include banishing pets from the bedroom and keeping the animal outdoors as much as possible. A sizeable percentage of the population is allergic to the hair, dander, and even the dried saliva that is dispersed throughout the home by a pet. In addition, house pets do carry dust in their coats, and where there is dust there are dust mites.
While the weather, pollution levels, outdoor pollen levels, and scores of other factors can trigger allergy attacks, very often the allergy sufferer’s antagonist is within his or her own home. So many patients experiencing rhinitis or headaches attribute their suffering to external factors, and are surprised that they can alleviate their symptoms simply by making a few basic changes in their own homes. However, if you continue to suffer from chronic sinus problems, you should call today to be seen at our office.
The information provided in this Web site is not intended to replace consultation with your physician.
Entire contents © 2016 Ulrich O. Ringwald, M.D. Reproduction in whole or in part without
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