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Dust Mite Allergy: Facts & Healthy Gift Ideas
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), people who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins within the bodies and feces of the mites, and these particles are found mostly in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. The particles float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding, but settle out of the air soon after the disturbance is over. The ACAAI also states that high levels of exposure to dust mite allergen are an important factor in the development of asthma in children.
The Mayo Clinic describes dust mites as microscopic organisms too small to see with the naked eye that thrive in warm, humid environments, eating dead skin cells and nesting in dust-collecting bedding, fabric, carpet and furnishings. Not everyone reacts to dust mite allergen (the dried feces and dead body parts that become airborne particles), but those who do have a reaction experience sneezing, watery eyes, and runny noses. These symptoms can be especially noticeable when getting up in the morning after a night of sharing a bed with millions of dust mites.
A key element in the treatment of a dust mite allergy is avoidance. This includes covering mattresses, box springs and pillows with mite proof covers; washing bedding in hot (130 degree) water or using an all-temperature anti-allergen laundry product; pulling up carpet or vacuuming often with a HEPA vacuum and regularly applying products to the carpet that kill dust mites or neutralize the allergen.
So these products would make great healthy gifts for those with dust mite allergy:
Mold Allergy: Facts & Healthy Gift Ideas
Mold is literally everywhere. In the home, the bathroom or basement are likely havens for moisture-loving mold. Molds do not die with the first killing frost but continue to grow on dead logs and in piles of leaves. If you get watery-eyed and runny nosed after raking leaves, you may have a mold allergy. Allergic symptoms from fungus spores are most common from July to late summer. But with fungi growing in so many places, allergic reactions can occur year round.
Molds reproduce by releasing spores that become airborne, and since mold is prevalent indoors and outdoors, the spores are easily breathed in causing a reaction in people with an allergy to mold. If you have a mold allergy, the Mayo Clinic says the best defense is to reduce your exposure to the types of mold that cause your reaction. It is important to clean away mold to prevent its spread. Using a product to delay mold's return can also be helpful.
If someone on your holiday gift list is allergic to mold, these items would be a good gift:
Nickel Allergy: Facts & Healthy Gift Ideas
A 2006 Mayo Clinic study identified nickel as one of the ten most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis, a skin inflammation resulting in swollen, reddened and itchy skin due to direct contact with an allergen. The American Contact Dermatitis Society has actually named nickel the Allergen of the Year for 2008.
Avoidance is the answer to preventing an allergic reaction to nickel, but that is easier said than done because nickel is found in so many things. You probably would say jewelry right away, but did you think of metal buttons, jean studs, snaps on baby clothes, belt buckles, eyeglasses, and zippers? The main problem is that you can't look at something and tell that it contains nickel. Even fine gold and silver jewelry often contains enough nickel to cause a reaction. Another surprising source is a cell phone.
If you know someone who breaks out in a red, itchy rash under a metal watchband or on a ring finger, the Nickel Solution Kit from Athena Allergy would make a great healthy gift. Not only can the nickel be detected in metal objects, but a solution can be applied to the offensive item to prevent a reaction. Then that favorite jewelry can be worn again!
Sinusitis: Facts & Healthy Gift Ideas
About 37 million Americans each year are affected by sinusitis -- infected or inflamed sinuses. Sinuses and nasal passages are connected by a continuous mucous membrane lining, so allergic reactions that affect the nose can also affect the sinuses.
To treat or help prevent sinusitis, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends the following for a sinus infection (sinusitis): keep your nose as moist as possible with frequent use of saline (salt) sprays; avoid very dry indoor environments and use a humidifier, if necessary; avoid exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke or strong odors from chemicals; avoid exposure to allergens. A humidity gauge is a handy tool to keep from over-humidifying. In addition, in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Ian Williamson said that inhaling steam and "squirting salt water into the nose" are effective sinus relief methods.
So if someone on your list has frequent sinus infections, one of these items would make a great healthy gift:
Pet Allergy: Facts & Healthy Gift Ideas
The Mayo Clinic states that the most effective treatment for pet allergy is to avoid exposure to animals, but prevention measures may help minimize your exposure to pet dander and the resulting allergic reactions. Usually a pet allergy will manifest itself immediately upon contact with the animal - instant sneezing and watery eyes. The pet's saliva, urine, and dander (tiny flakes of skin being sloughed off by your pet) are what causes the problem, not the fur or feathers. Regular bathing and keeping the pet's skin moisturized will help reduce dander. In addition, filtration will capture particles that are airborne.
So if someone on your list has a pet allergy, one of these items would make a great healthy gift:
You may have picked up on the fact that avoidance is crucial to managing asthma, allergies, and sinusitis. It is much easier to prevent symptoms than it is to treat them. You also may have noticed that some gift ideas overlap into different categories of asthma, allergy and sinus sufferers. Air purifiers and HEPA vacuums, for example, would make great healthy gifts for anyone! We at National Allergy hope our gift suggestions have helped relieve a little of the shopping stress. We wish for you and your family a holiday season full of joy and happiness.
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