Skip To Content

Allergies

Due to Inhalants

Asthma–see individual topic “Asthma.”

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever, nasal allergy) occurs when the nose and/or eyes react to pollens, house dust or other factors specific to an individual.

The symptoms are: itchy nose; stuffy or runny nose; sneezing; itchy roof of the mouth; itchy eyes; red eyes; watery eyes and swollen membranes in the eyes in almost any combination.

The treatment consists of symptomatic care (certain medicines may help improve the symptoms), avoidance of allergenic substances, and in occasional cases hyposensitization (injecting the allergen under the skin in gradually increasing doses).

Below are some guides to help you avoid allergenic substances, especially house dust:

  1. Avoid toys or stuffed animals. Necessary toys should be wood, plastic, or metal--never fabric.  No perfumes, talc, cosmetics, or flowers.
  2. Paint walls or paper with washable wallpaper.  Inspect wallpaper for any swelling, indicating collection of molds.  No pennants, pictures, or other dust catchers.
  3. Install roll-up washable cotton or synthetic window shades.  No venetian blinds.
  4. Use washable cotton or fiberglass curtains.  No draperies.
  5. Install window unit or central air conditioning. Keep windows closed, especially in summer.  No electric fans. No smoking.
  6. Use dacron or other synthetics for pillows, not kapok, feather, or foam rubber which grows mold, especially in damp areas.
  7. Electric heater preferred over hot air duct. In homes with forced air heat, use filter or damp cheesecloth over inlet to reduce dust circulation.  Change every two weeks.  Cost of centrally installed electrostatic air filter may be justified.  Consult your physician about air purifiers.  Keep bed away from air vent.
  8. Use washable cotton or synthetic blankets, not fuzzy surfaced ones. Use easily laundered cotton bedspread, not chenille.
  9. Use allergen-proof encasings for pillows, mattress, and box springs.  Zippered plastic covers do not seal out dust.  In use, zipper leaks act as jets, spraying dust.  Tape over zippers to  stop leaks.  Vacuum all casings frequently.  Store nothing under bed.
  10. Wood or linoleum flooring. No rugs of any kind.  No animals, birds or reptiles in the house.
  11. Use rubberized canvas of plastic upholstered furniture. No fabric upholstery.
  12. Keep all clothes in closets, never lying about the room. Enclose wool clothes in plastic zipper bags.  No mothballs, insect sprays, tar paper or camphor.  Keep closet and all doors closed.
  13. Avoid ornate furniture.  Plain simple designs catch less dust. No open book-shelves or books --they are great dust catchers.

Cleaning Tips:  

  • Wet-dust room twice daily. Damp-mop floor with solution containing disinfectant to prevent growth of mold spores.  Oil-mop baseboards.
  • Vacuum only if followed by airing room.  Use tank-type cleaner, vacuumed itself before using.  Attach a second hose to outlet, placing end outside window or in
    hall to prevent redistributing allergens.

Ways to help allergy patients avoid a "bad day at the office":

  • Keep windows closed and sealed against air-borne allergens.
  • Drapes are dust catchers. Lightweight, easily washable synthetic curtains are best. Plastic drapes of shower curtain material are virtually "allergy proof."
  • Air conditioners should be vacuum cleaned, and filter changed routinely.  Electrostatic precipitator can eliminate up to 95% of air-borne dust and allergens.
  • Foam rubber can grow or harbor fungi; use a polyester stuffing instead, or spring cushions.  Seat coverings should be vinyl, plastic or other synthetic material easily
    wiped clean.
  • If co-worker's lotion, hair spray or perfume seems to tease an allergic sensitivity, patient should not be reluctant to tell them.
  • Felt tip markers can emit fumes.
  • In furnitures, and decor, simplicity is the watchword.  Ornamentation greatly increases the potential number of dust-harboringsurfaces.
  • Factory office doors weather-stripped to minimize industrial odors, fumes and dust.Books are notorious collectors of mold as well as being  natural  dust-catchers.  Keep books in closed bookcases or closet.
  • Pencil sharpener dust is frequently a troublemaker.
  • Mold, a potent allergen, can be minimized by use of humidifiers, confining humidity to a healthy 40 percent range:  neither too damp to promote mold, nor too dry so as to parch the respiratory tract.

Guide to "desensitizing" a car:

  • Vinyl seat covers help keep dust and mold from inside upholstery. For allergies to plastic, choose tightly woven cloth, nylon or rayon.
  • Dark glasses may help relieve light-sensitive eyes, a common problem with hay fever sufferers. Tinted car glass may also be helpful.
  • If possible, travel only in air conditioned cars.  When outside air is allergen polluted, recirculate interior air, taking in no new air from outside.  Keep drafts from allergic passenger's sensitive mucous membranes.  In non-air conditioned cars, seal passenger compartment air vents found beneath dashboard with cheese-cloth or trimmed to fit standard air conditioning filter.  Keep windows closed at all times during pollen season, particularly station wagon rear windows, even when parked.
  • Before winter, vacuum car's heater outlets, especially in non-air conditioned cars.  To blow dust from system, operate heater for  twenty minutes with windows open and no allergic passenger.  Re-vacuum, dust, and  wash interior surfaces.
  • Chemical pollutants in car fumes often aggravate allergic patient's condition and increase symptoms.  To help control fumes:  have engine steam cleaned yearly; check radiator, brake fluid, and gas caps for correct sealing; change positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV) frequently; adjust carburetor and automatic choke properly; inspect entire exhaust system often for leaks; never carry extra  gas in trunk; and avoid overfilling gas tank.  Have allergic passenger enter car before
    starting engine to avoid exposure to exhaust fumes usually excessive at that time.
  • Clean floor mats often to remove collected dust, pollen and molds.  Keep vacuum OUTSIDE car to avoid redistributing dust.  Seal car leaks, especially in convertibles to prevent water accumulation on floor.  Frequently expose mats and underside padding to air and sun to help prevent mold formation.  Decontaminate mold
    area with a spray such as Lysol, CN or Roccal.
  • Use Dacron or other synthetics for pillows, not kapok, feather or foam rubber which grows mold, especially in damp areas.
  • Fur bearing animals in a confined area can be a major source of allergens.  Leave them home.
  • No smoking in car.

Helpful driving suggestions:

  • Pollen sensitive passengers should avoid riding in cars, especially in the country during periods when pollen concentration is highest in their area.  Blowing wind increases pollen count at any time.
  • Avoid roadside areas and farms being sprayed with insecticides or weed abatement chemicals.  If unavoidable, keep car windows closed.
  • When practical avoid rush hour traffic, heavily  traveled highways, and frequent stoplight intersections--all areas of excessive motor vehicle exhaust accumulation which often aggravates allergic conditions.
  • Try to plan routes so as to bypass immediate vicinity of refineries and large industrial plants.
  • Avoid freshly tarred highways.
  • When refueling have passengers allergic to gasoline fumes remain inside car with windows closed.
  • Keep at least four car lengths behind vehicles, particularly when they leave blue exhaust smoke.
  • Don't follow diesel buses or trucks closely.  Chemical pollutants may aggravate an allergic passenger's condition and increase their symptoms.