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Do you know all the allergens you're around every day?
Deodorant
Avoid brands that contain fragrances, baking soda (if you have a nickel allergy), essential oils and biological additives, parabens, vitamin E, and lanolin. Opt for hypoallergenic brands and alternative deodorants such as crystal products.
Cosmetics
Opt for fragrance-free, organic and hypo-allergenic cosmetic brands. Be sure to replace makeup on a regular basis (application sponges each week, liquid makeup every three months, lipstick every six months, etc.), as old makeup can harbor harmful bacteria.
Mattress
By law, most mattresses have flame retardant chemicals. Your best bet to avoid both chemicals and dust mites? Switch to a fire-retardant free solid memory foam mattress or latex mattress. Note: You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy one.
Carpet
Vacuum frequently and thoroughly - passing the vacuum four times over each area. Dust mite powder and flea control powder are also helpful in reducing allergens.
Dry Cleaning
When bringing home fresh dry cleaning, be sure to remove it from its protective plastic bag and air it out outdoors for several hours, or until the chemical odor has completely dissipated.
Dog/Cat
Make the bedroom a 'no pet' zone. Run a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom. Be sure to groom your pet regularly.
Flaking Paint
Homes and apartmentts built before 1978 have paint with high levels of lead. Clean paint chips immediately, repaint the surface, keep children from scratching, chewing, or touching painted surfaces, and have your home tested for lead.
Sheets On Bed
Permanent press sheets can have formaldehyde. Choose untreated clothing and bedding made of natural or organic fibers when possible.
Cleaning Solutions
Opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions with more natural ingredients and avoid those with harsh chemicals and odors. Note: If you are removing mold, you should use cleaner without ammonia and with at least 5% chlorine (which is irritating to skin and eyes).
Insecticides
Certain ingredients in insecticides may trigger allergic reactions including acute asthma attacks. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Use organic, chemical-free produce spray, and watch for any insecticide in your pet shampoos.
Inadequate Ventilation
Install an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking. Improve air quality by installing an air conditioner or humidifier. Be sure your air ducts are cleaned regularly.
Dirty Dishes
If you have a cockroach allergy, note that the highest concentration of cockroach allergens are in kitchens. Do not leave dirty dishes nor water in cups, glasses and bowls overnight.
Mold
Fix leaky plumbing immediately. Thoroughly clean all surface molds. Dry water-damaged areas immediately.
Air Vent
Inadequate ventilation can exacerbate allergies. Ensure that your hospital routinely maintains HVAC. When outside, protect yourself from exhaust from idling ambulances by standing away from the fumes and wearing a mask.
Aerosolized Medication
Be sure to use gloves and a mask when administering aerosolized medications. This kind of medication is associated with the development of asthma in nurses.
Carpeting
Carpeting can be a major source of allergies, both new carpet that emits chemical odors and old carpet that harbors allergens. If your workplace is installing new carpets, ask to be excused from working in the installation area for at least 72 hours.
Chair With Upholstery
If you are having a reaction to the upholstered furniture in the rooms, ask hospital cleaning crew about the amount of synthetic chemicals being used to clean the furniture. Request that non-toxic, biodegradable solutions be used.
Wood Side Table
Avoid coming into contact with allergen hot spots such as manufactured wood. If your nurse's station is built with it, or if it's near a copy machine (another chemical emitter) use air purifiers and request to have potted plants to help remove chemicals in the air.
Gloves
Gloves can cause allergic reactions which can increase with repeated use and exposure. Request administration to provide non-latex, chemical accelerator-free glove brands.