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Pregnancy and allergies: How to deal?

When a woman gets pregnant, there are countless changes that take place in her body. Amidst them all, the ones that have the most significant impact on women are the hormonal changes that occur. Just so you know, hormones tend to have a rather profound influence on the immune system. When pregnant, hormones have a more so steroidal effect, which dampens down any and all allergies. But the fact of the matter is that being pregnant leads a woman’s immune system to become dampened as well so that her body doesn’t reject the development of a fetus (yes, a fetus is a ‘foreign organism’ for the body). In turn, the allergy triggering potential of the immune system reaches new heights during pregnancy, thereby making women more susceptible to allergies. For example, asthma in most cases becomes worse in pregnant women with them having more frequent attacks.

The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded by allergens. These include things like pollen, dust, fungus and even cat dander, which is why it is all the more common for pregnant women to suffer from allergies. This means that you may end up sniffling, sneezing, and experiencing eye-watering allergic reactions that are caused by these and other allergens. However, you need to bear in mind the fact that not all stuffy symptoms are triggered by allergies. This is because they may even be induced due to hormone related swelling that may occur in your nasal passage.

Now, what you need to know is that having allergies is a rather common instance in pregnancy with about a quarter of all expectant mothers experiencing them. Even if you aren’t a long-time allergy sufferer, the changes in your body due to pregnancy may trigger them. So how should you deal with these allergies? Well, here’s how:

7 Prevention is definitely better than cure

Prevention, particularly in this case, is definitely the best treatment possible for pregnant women. In order to prevent the onset of allergies, it is highly recommended for you to minimize your exposure to things that trigger your allergy as best as possible. Instead of purchasing endless amounts of over-the-counter allergy medicines, you should consider talking to your doctor about triggers and basic symptoms. With your doctor, you can easily develop an allergy control plan that will help you have a much smoother pregnancy in this regard.

Preventing allergies does not come easy. However, it is possible for you to limit your contact with allergens so that any and all allergic reactions do not get triggered. For instance, you should consider sealing your pillows, staying away from your pets for a while, keeping your mattresses in casings that are dust-mite-proof, using a filtering vacuum and washing your bedding on a weekly basis in hot water so as to kill dust mites. In case of outdoor allergens, limit the amount of time that you spend outside during high pollution and high pollen days and keep your windows closed.

Don’t ignore your symptoms

The thing with allergies is that these have the potential to lead to other chronic conditions like asthma. For this reason, it is extremely important for you to make sure that your symptoms are never ignored. In case your symptoms continue to increase, it is best for you to contact an allergist right away. With an allergist, it will be easily possible for you to work out the exact cause of your allergies and the reason why your symptoms are escalating. This way, you will be in the position to manage your allergies much better.

6 Second hand smoke is a major no-no

Second hand smoke is not good for anyone’s health, and for good reason. The reason is that it is basically a mix of the smoke produced by the end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and exhaled smoke. Believe it or not, it consists of over 4,000 different chemical compounds like ammonia, carbon monoxide, nicotine, arsenic and formaldehyde. The worst part is that more than 50 of these chemicals and compounds are known to cause cancer. For the rest, a majority of them are known to be mutagens that have the potential to mutate or change the genetic structure of cells.

The worst part is that apart from all these poisonous chemicals, second hand smoke is also known to contain certain levels of herbicides, pesticides and a number of other toxic additives that are required for the manufacture of tobacco products. Even the briefest exposure to second hand smoke has the potential to cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat. Apart from that, it is also capable of causing dizziness, headaches, coughing, wheezing and severe bouts of nausea. All of these are classic symptoms of allergies, which deems it all the more important for you to stay as far away as possible from second hand smoke.

Other chemicals found in second hand smoke

Compared to the smoke inhaled by a smoker, there are certain toxic chemicals that are found in higher concentrations in second hand smoke. These include:

  • Nearly 5 times more carbon monoxide
  • 3 times more tar
  • Approximately 6 times more nicotine

With so many chemicals present in second hand smoke, it is best for you to avoid it during pregnancy so that you don’t suffer from its short-term (allergies) and long-term effects.

5 Stay away from harsh chemicals

When pregnant, it is highly recommended for you to stay as far away as possible from certain household chemicals like paint thinners, paints, varnish removers, carpet cleaners and oven cleaners etc. The reason for this is simple: all of these household chemicals are known to contain irritants and allergens that can trigger allergic symptoms in you during pregnancy. The different health issues that can be brought on by the utilization of household chemicals during pregnancy are:

  • Irritation in the airway: Household cleaners are known to contain powerful fumes that have the potential to trigger airway irritation. This can worsen your allergies or asthma symptoms, which adds to the reasons why you should avoid using household cleaners during pregnancy.
  • Eczema: Allergens and irritants found in household cleaners and detergents are believed to cause severe skin irritation. So if you already suffer from eczema, it is best to avert from the utilization of cleaners at home.
  • Eye irritation: Your eyes can also get irritated by the fumes found in household cleaners. This leads to redness and watering from the eyes and if your eyes come in direct contact with a cleaner, it has the potential to cause severe damage.
  • Other allergies: There are several other symptoms of allergies that can be triggered by the fumes of household cleaners. If it is an absolute must for you to use it, make sure that you do so as moderately or as less as possible.

Further recommendations

When using household cleaners, it is highly recommended for you to keep the doors and windows of your home open. You should also wear a mask and rubber gloves when doing so and make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after using chemicals.

4 Cut down the allergens found in your home

Whether you want to use medications to relieve allergy symptoms during pregnancy is completely your decision. However, there are quite a few things that you can do around your place in order to decrease your exposure to allergens and cut down on your symptoms. The different steps that you can take in this regard are inclusive of:

  • Using pillows and mattresses that are made of synthetic materials
  • Have your pillows and mattresses wrapped in zippered covers
  • Clean your carpets with a vacuum that comes with a HEPA filter
  • If such a vacuum cleaner is unavailable, remove carpets and replace them with vinyl or ceramic tile or hardwoods
  • Dust surfaces using an electrostatic cloth so that dust allergens get trapped in it
  • Make sure that your bedding is washed on a weekly basis in hot water
  • During periods of your peak allergies, make sure that you keep your windows closed
  • If you have pets, it is highly recommended for you to bathe them every week and keep them away from your bedroom

Keep dust mites away

In case you suffer from seasonal allergies, there is a good chance that your symptoms are going to pass as the weather changes and winter comes up. However, if you find yourself sniffling all through the year, there are reasons to believe that your allergies are triggered by indoor allergens. Some of the most common culprits in this regard are dust mites, mold, pet dander and roaches. To reduce the number of dust mites around your pace, wash your bedding in hot water each week and use a humidity monitor to keep an eye on things.  

3 Consider acupuncture

For those who don’t know, acupuncture is a centuries old healing practice that focuses on the insertion and manipulation of needles into the body. With time, the Western culture has also adopted this practices and it has gained immense popularity in Western countries. Ever since its inception, acupuncture has become a rather sought-after means of alternative treatment and can assist with both pain management and several medical conditions. Due to its healing abilities, many individuals around the world turn to acupuncture so as to gain relief from health issues when the utilization of medicines becomes undesirable for them.

One such time when using traditional Western medication becomes a bit undesirable for women is during pregnancy. Considering that allergies are prone to increasing in both intensity and frequency during pregnancy, the utilization of acupuncture is best for women to seek relief through a less invasive means. When acupuncture is used for the treatment of allergies in pregnancy, the approach basically involves needle sessions together with diet recommendations, herbs and treatment for things like depression. On the whole, this holistic approach to treatment for allergies is based on the historic Chinese belief that there are a number of factors like chronic illness, emotional disturbances and diet etc. that can trigger the onset of asthma and allergies.

How acupuncture works

On the whole, acupuncture works by affecting collagen in the skin through needles. This way, all the accumulated mast cells disperse quickly. It further reduces the activity of mast cells (just so you know, these are immune cells that trigger the release of histamine. With reduced activity of these cells, you will suffer from lesser allergy symptoms.

2 Limit your exposure to animals

Yes, if you suffer from existing animal allergies, there is a good chance that these can be aggravated during pregnancy – and even new ones can come up during it. Even with all the joys associated with being pregnant, there are unpleasant side effects that you will have to deal with and allergies, particularly those that are caused by animals, are one of them. Many pregnant women complain of worsened animal allergy symptoms, whereas some also complain of suffering from allergies that they never had before. Although it is unclear as to why women have such increased problems with animal allergies, there is the general notion that it is because of the hormonal changes that take place in their bodies that trigger these conditions. For this reason, it is highly recommended for pregnant women to limit their exposure to animals.

By limiting your exposure to animals, you will basically avert coming in contact with allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. However, doing so will not be easy in case you are a pet owner yourself. So what should you do? Keep suffering from allergies all through your pregnancy? No way. There are plenty of things that you can do around your house to make sure that you stay away from pet dander as much as possible.

A clean home is what you need

You need to bear in mind the fact that pet allergies are triggered by both dander and hair. For this reason, it is extremely important for you to keep your home as clean and hair-free as possible. This way, it will be easily possible for you to avoid excessive exposure to your pets. Also, to ensure that you have a bit of a “retreat” in case your allergies flare up, keep at least one room around your place, preferably your bedroom, a “pet-free zone”.

1 Get a dehumidifier

Just because you are pregnant, there is no need at all for dust mites, mildew and mold to cause misery for you – and this is where a home dehumidifier is going to come in handy. The thing with mold and mildew is that these tend to grow in areas that are a bit moist. This includes cabinets found under the kitchen sink and even damp basements. Also, molds tend to reproduce by means of tiny spores that float through the air. Hence, breathing in these spores has the potential to trigger:

  • Eye or skin irritation
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Wheezing or sneezing

Even dust mites that are known to be the most common trigger of symptoms pertaining to allergies and asthma tend to thrive in areas with high humidity. Apart from the air in your home, dust mites can also live in rugs, curtains, and bedding. However, with a dehumidifier, it will be easily possible for you to bring down the level of moisture around your place, thereby limiting the growth of mildew and mold while also making it nearly impossible for dust mites to thrive. For this reason, using a dehumidifier is highly recommended if you suffer from asthma or allergies and live in a humid climate or have signs of moisture around your house. This includes:

  1. Rotting wood
  2. Musty smells
  3. Stuffy feeling in your room
  4. Condensation on windows
  5. Wet stains on ceilings and walls

Check your dehumidifier’s capacity rating before purchasing it

In order to determine the size of the dehumidifier that you need, it is highly recommended for you to check its capacity rating. The rating or size you need basically depends upon how damp your room is and how big it is.

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