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Medications help treat allergy symptoms once they strike. But these simple steps can help you avoid an asthma attack no matter where you are.

At home

  • Use air conditioning and keep windows closed if you are allergic to pollen. Do not use fans, as they can spread dust.
  • Filter the air in the room by covering the air conditioning vents with gauze to trap pollen. Use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters and clean them frequently. Clean your air ducts at least once a year.
  • Keep home humidity levels below 50% to prevent mould growth.
  • Keep your pets outside. Animal dander and saliva are common allergens. If you decide to keep your pets indoors, don’t let them enter your room. Bathe them often too.
  • Avoid areas where mould can build up, such as basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, and compost heaps. These areas have often been cleaned by someone else.
  • Install dehumidifiers in your basement and other parts of the house where mould grows.
  • Get mould test kits that will tell you how much mould is in your home. If there is a lot, you can work to get rid of it, especially in rooms where you spend most of your time.
  • Air damp clothing and shoes indoors before storing.
  • Remove clothes from the washing machine immediately.
  • Regularly wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mould removal solutions.
  • Don’t collect too many houseplants. Mould growth occurs in the soil.
  • Store firewood outside.
  • Use plastic covers for pillows, mattresses and box springs. Avoid fluffy furniture and stuffed bedding or pillows.
  • Wash your bedding every week in hot water.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
  • Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting. That will limit your exposure to dust and chemicals.
  • Vacuum once or twice a week.
  • Make sure you can wash rugs regularly.
  • When possible, choose wood floors. If you must have rugs, choose a low pile option.
  • Avoid dust accumulation on venetian blinds or long curtains. Replace old window coverings with shutters or blinds.
  • Install an extractor over your gas stove to remove fumes.

In the car

  • Keep the air conditioner on to use recirculated air if you are allergic to pollen, and keep windows closed.
  • Don’t let anyone smoke.

Outdoor

  • Walk less in wooded areas or gardens.
  • Check the forecast. Stay indoors as much as possible on hot, dry and windy days, when the pollen count is highest.
  • Try to avoid extreme changes in temperature, as they can cause asthma.
  • If you can, stay indoors between 5 and 10 a.m., when outdoor pollen counts are highest.
  • Wear a mask (a cheap painter’s mask is fine) when mowing the lawn if you are allergic to grass pollen or mould. Wear a mask in the garden. Flowers and weeds give off pollen.
  • Wear a baseball cap to protect the scalp and face from pollen.
  • Do not rake leaves or work with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mould.
  • When you come back in, shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes. This will remove pollen that has accumulated on clothing and hair.
  • To protect yourself from insect bites, wear shoes, long pants, and sleeves. Do not use scented deodorants, perfumes, shampoos, or hair products.
  • If you have severe allergies and your doctor has prescribed an epinephrine injector kit, take it with you at all times.
  • Do not hang clothes or bedding to dry. They will collect pollen and mould.

On the road

  • Pack the medications in your carry bag.
  • Bring an extra supply of medications in case you need them.

In a hotel

  • Ask for a non-smoking room.
  • Remove the feather pillows and ask for synthetic, non-allergenic pillows. Or bring your own plastic pillow case from home.
  • If possible, keep the air conditioning vent in the room closed.

Go out for dinner

  • Choose smoke-free restaurants.
  • Avoid the ingredients that trigger your food allergies. Read the menus carefully and ask your server how the dish is made. Choose fresh foods instead of prepared or processed. If you have an epinephrine injection kit, take it with you at all times. If your doctor has prescribed keep them close.

At your children’s school

  • Discuss your child’s allergies with the staff.
  • Teach your child about his allergies early. That will make it less likely that you will eat something that triggers an allergic reaction.
  • Leave one or two epinephrine kits at school. Make sure that the staff, and your child, when they are old enough, can use it correctly.
  • Tell them about any other medications your child is taking. Make sure the school has doses of everything you need.
  • Encourage her to play sports, but let her coaches know if she needs to take medicine before going to the field.