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All right, I’m going to admit something horribly embarrassing for a woman to admit. I’m swearing you to secrecy or you cannot read any further. Capish? Okay. I snore. Yes, I’m a snorer.
To stop, I tried those nasal strips that hold your nose open in an alarming, air-rushing-in sort of way, as well as homeopathic anti-snore remedies and marjoram essential oil. I also tried the sleep on your back, don’t sleep on your back tip. Nothing worked. Funny thing, I wasn’t always a snorer. The condition seems to have taken hold over last few years, about the same time I moved into a house with rugs. If I could only find the cause…
Thankfully, I just went for allergy testing. So when my arm burst forth with hives it was revealed very concretely that I have a severe dust mite allergy. Which means every evening when I lay my head down into the dust mite town in my bed I get all stuffed up and snorey by morning.
Dust mites are teeny tiny creepy crawlies that love to live in areas with dust or dander. The prime real estate dander area is the bed. The high-priced feather/dander condos are located in down pillows and comforters. Lower-priced real estate choices, though still highly populated areas, include all bedding and pillows, mattresses, rugs, curtains, and anything that collects dust or dander, such as my cat.
Here’s a newsflash: Allergy to dust mites is the most common allergy there is or, more specifically, allergy to the mites’ waste products and carcasses, which float about in dust you eventually inhale. So what’s an allergy sufferer to do against the evil, the insidious, the microscopic dust mite?
Lots apparently. This is not one of those situations where there’s nothing you can do about it. Treatment usually involves 1) Avoiding exposure 2) Medication as needed, and 3) Allergy shots if the first two don’t control. First thing’s first, if you suspect an allergy then testing can give you answers. Ask your doctor.
Environmental control is a major way to reduce allergy symptoms. Canadian Allergy & Asthma product literature explains it this way:
Think of your immune system as a bucket. It takes in allergens and starts filling up. But the symptoms don’t appear until your ‘bucket’ has filled up and begins to overflow. That’s when you become miserable. Allergy physicians have many ways of dealing with this problem. High on the list are various environmental controls to help you avoid enough allergens so that your bucket won’t overflow. Whether you are allergic to one or several substances, successful avoidance of even one of them can keep your bucket from overflowing.
If you do have a mite allergy, how do you keep your bucket from overflowing? Here’s a list for dust mite avoidance or, as I like to call it, mass destruction of Mite Town:
- Wash all your blankets and sheets in hot water (55 to 60 °C) once a week. Hot water kills the mites.
- If possible, remove carpets and install bare floors.
- Use damp mops and cloths to remove dust so as not to stir up and inhale dust loaded with allergens.
- Dehumidify or use an air conditioner to maintain your air humidity at 40 to 50% because this keeps the mite libido low. They breed like crazy at higher humidity levels.
- Look into purchasing a low emissions vacuum cleaner that doesn’t propel allergens back into the air.
- Cover air vents with filters.
- If you use curtains wash them often or install, instead, fabric-free vertical blinds.
- If an item collects dust, get rid of it. This includes that macramé wall hanging you made back in the sixties, bunches of dried flowers, upholstered furniture, and so on.
- Wear a facemask when dusting and cleaning or better yet, get someone else to clean!
- Keep clothing in the closet with the door closed.
- Try using a HEPA air cleaner to remove airborne allergens.
- Invest in pillow and mattress mite-proof casings. These products are helpful for many people.
- Replace wool or down bedding with synthetic materials. If this is not possible you can also purchase mite-proof comforter covers.
- As a last resort there are also miticides available. Use with caution.
I know the above list looks daunting and expensive. However, if you can turn one room of your house into a no-allergen oasis, say your bedroom where you often spend about a third of your day, you’ll go a long way towards keeping your allergy bucket from filling up.
I’m not looking forward to pulling up the rugs, but I will. You know why? If it eliminates my congestion and snoring (you’re sworn to secrecy remember) then it’s more than worth it.
Exercise, Massage, and New Activity Cautions
Photo Credit: Robin Goossens
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