AHHC data collection indicates that hospitalizations due to exacerbation of respiratory symptoms increase during the spring of the year. We have hypothesized that they may be due to allergies triggering underlying respiratory disease. In an effort to avoid hospitalizations for our clients, we have developed this informational piece for use in decreasing allergic responses for our clients. Please read, share with your clients and their families and implement as you see fit.
The importance of allergy in asthma has been well established. Exposure to dust mites within the first year of life is associated with later development of asthma. Mite and cockroach antigens are common, and exposure and sensitization has been shown to increase asthma morbidity. Allergies trigger asthma attacks in 60-90% of children and in 50% of adults. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in childhood and accounts for up to 250,000 deaths per year worldwide.
Both outdoor and indoor aeroallergens sensitize and exacerbate allergic asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis. Major outdoor allergens include those derived from the pollens of trees, grasses, and weeds. Major indoor allergens are derived from dust mites, molds, cockroaches, cat, dog, and other furry animal debris. Allergens are located both in homes and in other indoor environments.
The physician has 3 treatment options for patients with allergic diseases, including allergic asthma. These include aeroallergen avoidance, medications to control symptoms, and allergen immunotherapy. In developed countries, more than 90% of the average person's time is spent indoors. This statistic underscores the importance of avoidance measures, especially in patients who are allergic to indoor allergens.
Allergen avoidance and other environmental control efforts are feasible and effective. Symptoms, pulmonary function test findings, and airway hyper reactivity (AHR) improve with avoidance of environmental allergens. Removing even one of many allergens can result in clinical improvement. However, patients frequently are not compliant with such measures.
While it is impossible to make the place you live in completely allergen free, there are things you can do to reduce exposure to allergens. The following tips may help.
For more information about asthma and allergies go to:
|Major Allergen||Area(s) of High Concentration||Source of Allergen||Avoidance Strategies|
|Dust Mite||Bedding, Upholstered furniture, carpeting||Mite body, Mite feces||
Impermeable (woven) covers (pillows, mattresses)
Elimination of dust reservoir (carpets, upholstered furniture)
Weekly washing of bedding in hot water
Reducing indoor humidity
|Cat, dog||Bedding, Upholstered furniture, carpeting||Sebaceous glands, Salivary glands||
Pet removal, Pet washing
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters
|Cockroach||Kitchen||Saliva, Fecal Material, Secretions, Dead cockroach bodies||
Pesticides, roach traps
Elimination of food and water supply
Closing windows and doors
Repairing all leaks
Using air conditioning
Heating all rooms in the winter
Removal of contaminated source
Cleaning contaminated area with bleach solution