When you have nasal, eye and skin allergies, environment is everything. If it wasn't for the environment we live in, work in and play in, we wouldn't even have allergies after all! You see, the things that set off your allergy symptoms in the first place are part of the environment around you. Things like:
- Tree, grass and weed pollens
- Animal dander, urine and saliva
- Dust mites that live in household dust
- Mold spores found both indoors and outdoors
- Insect droppings
- Tobacco smoke & wood fire smoke
Those are the most common environmental triggers, but there can be others too. So, getting rid of these things in your environment can really help in preventing allergic reactions and the associated allergy symptoms. But it's not easy. Making it harder is that sometimes you don't even realize these things are in your environment.
Luckily, the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) has come up with a great handout that will take you room by room through your home environment to help identify the pitfalls and traps you might not know are even there.
It's called the Indoor Air Repair Kit and there's a version for home, for school and for play. It's a downloadable PDF document and there are checklists for each room, giving you cues there may be a problem, along with solutions. It's really easy to read and use.
Here are some highlights:
- Kitchen. Cues there may be allergens lurking in your kitchen are loose or missing caulking along the edges of the countertop, musty smells inside cabinets, water puddles under the sink cabinet. Things you can do: repair leaking pipes with new washers and gaskets, stop storing wet sponges and dishrags under the sink, replace expensive cleaners with items you already have in your house (recipes included).
- Sleeping areas. Cues there may be allergens: pets sleep with you, stacked books or magazines on the bedside table, carpet on the floor. Solutions: Switch to washable throw rugs, wash bedding weekly in hot water to get rid of dust and dander, keep pets out of the bedroom.
That's just an overview of the home version of the Indoor Air Repair Kit. There's tons more detail in the downloads. It's good stuff! I especially liked the "Recipes for Success" section on page 8. They leave no stone (or environmental location) unturned.
Check them out for yourself:
By the way, this great resource was developed by AANMA with funding that came from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose focus is often on clean air and environment. AANMA states that the goal of this project was "to help families learn practical, low-cost ways to reduce asthma-related allergens and irritants indoors."