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7 Surprising habits that can worsen your allergies

Allergy flare-ups are never fun and your goal is to minimize the reaction as much as possible. For this, you’ll have to identify certain seemingly “harmless” daily habits that can literally make your symptoms worse. Here are seven such culprits.

Mind Body By Ariba KhaliqAug 03, 2015

Know your allergy triggers

If you think you know all your allergy triggers and have no idea about third-hand smoke, you need to think again. ”Guessing” what you’re allergic to doesn’t always prove right and you might be wrong more than often. To know what really is behind your allergy, you must get tested. The next step would be to identify ways to reduce exposure to those triggers with the help of your allergist. It’s also important to check your habits, some of which can trigger symptoms of certain allergies. Here is a list of seven surprising habits that can worsen your allergies.

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Gathering stuff

Being a pack rat only aggravates your allergies. Clean your house! Consider a minimal approach while decorating your home because clutter accumulates dust. Keep only the essentials and donate what you don’t need. If you think you might need this stuff later, pack them in plastic bags and store in the garage. Keep floors and walls bare, especially in the bedroom, recommends The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). If you can’t tolerate a bare floor, opt for machine-washable throw rugs.

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Cleaning wrong

If you’re making mistakes while cleaning, you can trigger allergies. Not wearing a mask while doing household chores is a big cleaning mistake because you end up breathing the stirred dust. Always use a damp cloth for dusting and vacuum clean your place once or twice a week. You might want to invest in a vacuum cleaner with an HEPA filter, which traps particles such as pet dander and dust mites. Skip sweeping altogether and use wet mop instead. Also, cleaning agents that contain irritant chemicals can trigger your allergy. Opt for natural, unscented cleaning products instead.

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Storing damp clothes

The temptation to put away clothes that are almost, but not fully, dry can be huge when you’re short on time. Don’t give in to it because a damp environment provides the perfect breeding ground for mold. FYI, mold is a significant indoor allergy trigger. You should specially keep this in mind if you live in a humid region. Always let clothes dry before you store them.

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Stressing out

Take a deep breath before you read further. A 2013 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that people with allergies, who live with persistent stress, experience more flare-ups of their symptoms. That stress takes a toll on your body is a well-established fact; try to manage it effectively. Having fun, meditating, identifying stressors and avoiding them are some ways to feel light.

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Eating certain foods

You might know that pollen is an allergy trigger, but do you know about pollen-food syndrome? According to the American College of Allergies, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), some fresh produce such as peaches, apples and melons can cause seasonal allergy symptoms. Allergy symptoms get triggered when allergens found in both pollen and certain fruits cross-react. So, if you suspect you have pollen-food allergy, see your allergist.

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Being exposed to third-hand smoke

Of course you know that first-and-second-hand smoke can cause allergic reactions, but how about we tell you, “third-hand smoke” is a threat too? It refers to the residual nicotine that clings to clothes and indoor surfaces. It isn’t just bad for your health, but is also an allergen. Encourage smokers in your family to quit; for their health and your own.

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Wearing wrong contacts

Contact lenses can trap pollens and allergens, leading to eye irritation. But, don’t banish them altogether; just avoid the extended-wear types. Go with disposable ones that can be thrown out at the end of the day, before they cause a problem.

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