By Heather Legg
My husband gets the strangest eye allergy; we can’t figure it out. It’s not the lids that swell on him; it’s the whites of his eye. He can feel it coming on, but it’s quick and it’s here. He can’t figure out the trigger or what to do to prevent it, only how to treat it. I guess when you know what your trigger is, it’s easier to avoid and prevent. We’ll keep guessing and hopefully one of these days, his “jelly eye” will be a thing of the past.
For those of you with eye allergies who are more attuned to your triggers (like pollen, mold or animal dander), here are some good tips on preventing reactions from ACAAI Online:
• Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, usually during the mid-morning and early evening, and when wind is blowing pollens around.
• Keep windows closed and use air conditioning in your car and home. Air conditioning units should be kept clean. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize pollen getting into your eyes.
• Avoid rubbing eyes, which will only irritate them or make your condition worse.
• Reduce dust mite exposure in your home, especially the bedroom. Bedding, particularly pillows, should be encased in “mite-proof” covers. Wash bedding often in hot water (at least 130*F). Keep humidity in your home low (between 30 percent and 50 percent).
• Clean floors with a damp rag or mop rather than dry dusting or sweeping.
• Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals. Remove and wash clothing after visiting friends with pets.
• If you have a pet to which you are allergic, keep it out of your house as much as possible. If the pet must be in the house, keep it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep. Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you have forced-air or central heating/cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum which are easier to keep dander free.
• Reduce indoor molds caused by high humidity by cleaning bathrooms, kitchens and basements regularly. A dehumidifier can be used to reduce molds, especially in damp, humid places like basements. Make sure the dehumidifier is cleaned often. To clean moldy areas in the home, use a 1-to-10 parts diluted mixture of chlorine bleach and water.
Also, changing clothes after being outdoors in the pollen will help as will showering and washing your hair each night before bed if pollen is your trigger. Hose your car off in the morning so the pollen isn’t pulled in by the air conditioner.
Take this allergy quiz to help in your eye allergy diagnosis. The best way, however, to diagnose is to see an allergist.