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What causes nasal allergies?

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Do away with allergies

More Americans than ever before are suffering from nasal allergies - the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America estimates there are approximately 40 million allergy sufferers in the US alone and recent studies indicate as many as one out of every four people have seasonal and year-round nasal allergies. Experts say nasal allergies are easily the most common chronic respiratory illness. What causes this irritating, even debilitating, condition? Read on to learn about the most common indoor and outdoor allergens and the steps you can take to do away with your nasal allergies.

Most common causes of indoor allergies

Regardless of the season, if you suffer from allergies year-round, your home or office may be to blame.

May, who has written five books on indoor allergens and air quality, says "The most common allergens in the indoor air are animal dander (pet skin flakes), mold spores (from outdoor or indoor mold growth), droppings from dust mites and particles from cockroach and rodent activity."

If you are like the average American and spend 20 hours indoors everyday, your best solution for reducing your allergy symptoms is cleaning up your home and office.

Tips for reducing indoor allergies

Weekly vacuuming and dusting is a good start, but for allergy sufferers is probably not enough. "What many people don't realize is that a clean space may not be clean of allergens," warns May. "To make a home a haven for nasal allergy sufferers, extra steps need to be taken."

1. Watch out for carpets and upholstered furniture

May says don't worry if you feel like you can't give up your carpets and furniture. He suggests a steam vapor treatment, which can work to kill dust mites.

2. Switch to allergen-proof bedding

Allergen-proof mattresses and pillowcases are also helpful for lessening exposure to dust mites. May adds, "I would even recommend taping over the length of the zipper."

3. Wash your bedding weekly

To rid your sheets and pillowcases of allergens, May recommends washing them in hot water (130 degrees F) and drying them in a hot dryer. If you have satin sheets, May says freezing them overnight will kill dust mites, too.

4. Wipe your feet

Since pollen can stick to your shoes, if you go outside, wipe your feet – or, even better, leave pollen-covered shoes outdoors.

5. Leave pollen outside

May says, "It's better to not let the allergen in your home than to try to remove it once it's there." He suggests keeping your windows and doors closed, especially on high pollen count days, and he warns to not rely too much on air purifiers.

6. Learn more

With proper cleaning, your home will not only be an allergen-reduced haven for you, it will be a welcome place for your loved ones with allergies, too. You can get more tips to reduce indoor and outdoor allergies by visiting and registering for the My Xperts Program.

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