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Tame Your Allergies

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Dear Dr. Levister: I’ve suffered with allergies since I was a child. As I get older they’re getting worse. What can I do to get them under control? H.W.

Dear H.W.: One in three Americans has allergies. So, remember, you are not alone.

And there are many things you can do to help keep your allergy symptoms under control. The most important thing you can do is to avoid the things you're allergic to. Sometimes, your response to allergens can be compared to balancing on a teeter-totter.

Keeping your exposure to allergens as low as possible plus keeping your general health as strong as possible is what keeps you in balance. If your allergy symptoms are having a major impact on your lifestyle, consult your physician. An appointment with a trained and certified allergist can help you control your symptoms and begin to enjoy life to its fullest!

Here are a few things you can do to tame your allergies:

Use a special filter for allergy sufferers in your furnace and air conditioner. These are usually available locally in large hardware or department stores. A room air cleaner with a HEPA filter may be helpful.

• Stop Smoking

• When driving, keep your windows closed and air conditioner set on MAX to avoid pulling in airborne allergens.

• No household pets with fur or feathers.

• Don't use feather pillows or down comforters.

• Wash all bedding in hot water (135-145 degrees) weekly.

• Vinyl, leather or wood furniture is best -- overstuffed furniture harbors dust and mold.

• Wood or vinyl flooring is best. Area rugs that can be washed easily may be used.

• Vacuum your carpets at least once a week. Using a vacuum sweeper with a HEPA filter has been shown to be helpful.

• Eat a balanced diet -- avoid eating the same foods all the time. (Unfortunately, it's often the foods that we like the best and eat the most that we become allergic to fastest.)

• Use unscented and undyed tissues and toilet paper.


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