Friday, June 29, 2012

14 days to a sneeze free home -- Day 9

Here's an allergy taming tip that I need to try:  When pets come in from the outdoors, give them a quick rub with a baby wipe to trap dust and pollens.  Corduroy, the ferocious 10 pound poodle in charge of animal hospitality at the Merry Rose, managed to find some leaves to roll in, and these stuck to his hair -- which badly needs grooming.  Wouldn't you know, he got inside before I could get the leaves of him, and they are now in crumbles on my floor.  Time to vacuum. 

Last summer, I had my first ever case of poison ivy.  I had been in contact with the stuff before, of course, but had never been allergic to it.  However, my dermatologist said that as our hormones change, the things that trigger our allergies can change, as well.  One of the first questions she asked was if I had a dog.  Dogs can contact poison ivy and give it to you if the irritant is still on their fur.  So, again, it's a good idea to wipe dogs or cats when they come inside and also to get rid of any poison ivy or the like that might be in your yard.

I don't know about where you live, but we are having some brutal heat here in Tennessee.  Naturally, we have daily air quality alert warnings.   Right now, we are in code orange, which affects only those who might be sensitive, such as people with asthma, the elderly, and children.

Here are the code levels and what they mean:

  • Good" AQI is 0 - 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
  • "Moderate" AQI is 51 - 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
  • "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" AQI is 101 - 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air. .
  • "Unhealthy" AQI is 151 - 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects. .
  • "Very Unhealthy" AQI is 201 - 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
  • "Hazardous" AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

14 days to a sneeze free home -- Day 8

Do you wake up with a sore throat, a stuffy nose, and even a worsening of asthma?  Check out not only allergies as a source, but also the possibility that you might suffer from acid reflux.  Even babies can suffer from this, so ask your doctor if this is a possible source of these symptoms in children, as well.

Acid reflux can be caused or made worse by the following:

1)  A hiatal hernia where the esophagus meets the stomach.
2)  Being overweight and/or out of shape.
3)  Trigger foods, such as spicy dishes, peppermint and peppermint tea, soft drinks. caffeine, tomatoes, etc.  Your trigger food may be different from another's trigger food, so it takes a bit of experimentation to find out.
4)  Congenital problems of the esophagus.
5)  H. Pylori bacteria.

Some people suffer temporary bouts of acid reflux.  These are usually brought on by irritation of the esophagus or some specific trigger.  Other people suffer chronic, low level problems with acid reflux. 

Acid flowing up from the stomach can irritate the tissues in the lungs, nose, and throat.  Thus, they can compound regular nasal and respiratory allergies or even cause them. Our stomachs usually release acid at a specific time in the early morning hours.  Since people are sleeping, they are usually both flat and not eating, which means that the stomach acid can flow unopposed into the esophagus.  When  a person's valves work well, this is not a problem.  However, if one of the above triggers is interfering with the valve, then acid does flow up and cause symptoms.   

Your doctor is the one who can best tell you how to treat your reflux.  In addition to your doctor's specific advice, hare are a few domestic methods to try:

1)  Elevate the head of your bead.  This can be done with risers underneath the legs at the head of the bed or by special foam wedges that you can tuck underneath your mattress.  In this way, you use gravity to help stomach acids stay in place.
2)  Avoid eating within a few hours of bedtime.
3)  Learn to cook with foods that do not trigger your or a member's acid reflux.  Sometimes, finding healthy and cost-friendly recipes that don't involve trigger foods can be a challenge.   However, the challenge isn't insurmountable, as we have so many food choices nowadays, as well as lots of information about cooking and diet on the Internet and in cookbooks.


Friday, June 01, 2012

14 Days to a Sneeze Free Home -- Day 7

5 Tips to Fight Allergies

1)  According to an article from Reader's Digest, make sure that your welcome mats and mats placed inside doors are of synthetic fiber and not natural fibers.  Natural fibers break down and become part of the problem.  Synthetic mats trap dirt and pollen that might be tracked inside and, thus, keep them from being spread all over your house.  Clean mats weekly.
2)  Reader's Digest also recommends that you set your thermostat above 65 degrees in the winter in order to keep mold from developing in moister air.  As the central air heats the air to above 65 degrees, it removes some of the moisture.
3)  How is your vitamin C level?  Some studies suggest that deficiencies in Vitamin C are associated with increased allergies.  If you already get enough Vitamin C, taking more won't help.  If your diet is low on Vitamin C, however, you might try adding  foods that provide Vitamin C.
4) The Boston Public Health service recommends that allergy sufferers keep records of their symptoms so that they and their doctors might be able to identify possible triggers.  Take note of good days as well as days that are harder.  Keeping a diary for one year might help you identify seasonal patterns. 
5)  How clean are your light fixtures, lamp shades, etc?   Dust and debris underneath glass shades can contribute to allergies. 


Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Tree Firmly Planted by Elizabeth A. Mundie

A Tree Firmly Planted

by Elizabeth A. Mundie

Giveaway ends July 01, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win