Thousands of athletes across America live with allergies, but that hasn’t precluded them from living their best lives. Health experts say that nearly 1 in 5 people are allergic to, among other things, food, animals, or pollen. In many cases, the symptoms are mild and can be managed with simple drugs. But there have been instances when an allergic reaction became life-threatening. But if you take the right precautions, you can lead a life without that fear.
You probably already know what you need to do. For instance, having a food allergy means you need to avoid dishes or snacks that might cause a reaction. The same goes for drugs. Allergic rhinitis might be more difficult to manage, especially if you spend most of your time outdoors. Significant strides have been made in allergy treatments for adults, but you still need to be careful if you don’t want your condition to affect your athletic performance.
Being an athlete is already hard enough without having to worry about your own immune system going haywire. There are a few strategies that may help minimize your exposure to allergens and contain their effects. Here are some of them.
1. Identify the root causes of your allergies
People who were diagnosed at an early age are generally better equipped to deal with their allergies. They have already consulted with an allergist and know their dos and don’ts. However, some people develop allergies in adulthood and might not even be aware that they’re allergic to something until they experience an adverse reaction. You might want to see an allergist if only to shed some light on your condition.
Let’s say you’ve suddenly developed a cold. Or you think you’ve got a cold. After all, the symptoms are similar. But what you don’t know that a million other things (pollen, mold, even pet hair) could’ve caused that cold of yours. You can’t fight what you don’t know. If you want to solve a problem, you need to identify its source.
2. Ventilate your home
Adverse reactions to mold can be prevented if you take the necessary precautions. Mold is caused by excessive moisture in the walls and ceilings. Plumbing issues, if left alone, could result in a mold infestation. This shouldn’t be an issue for new buildings, but if you live in an old house, you might want to hire an inspector to check for any issues.
Even if there are no plumbing issues, mold can still grow if the air is humid enough. Areas with poor ventilation, such as storage rooms and attics, are breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Consider investing in a dehumidifier to remove moisture in the air. You can also air out your home by opening the doors and windows.
3. Check your living spaces
Many of us have been taught that we need to protect ourselves from external dangers. But you could just as easily become exposed to allergens inside your home. Allergic reactions occur after repeated and prolonged exposure to a certain substance. The first place you need to check is your bedroom. Since we spend at least six or seven hours a night in our bedroom, we must keep this space clean.
You need to watch out for dampness, so make sure to replace your linens at least once a week. Even if the sheets look clean, the fibers could harbor allergens such as dust. You also might want to air out your room to reduce humidity in the air.
Thin pieces such as pillowcases, fitted sheets, and duvets are easy to clean. However, cleaning a mattress is too big a job for one person. Consider hiring a professional for your mattress. You also might want to buy a topper to keep the mattress clean.
4. Clean the vents
Lack of maintenance can create the right conditions for an allergic reaction. If the ventilation vents are dirty or blocked, air won’t circulate your home, which can cause water vapor to linger in the air. The resulting dust buildup could also exacerbate your allergic rhinitis. Make sure to have the ducts and vents cleaned every three years.
The bottom line
There’s no known cure for allergies, but these four tips should help you minimize your exposure to allergens. As long as you manage your symptoms and take the necessary precautions, your allergies shouldn’t affect your athletic performance.