What is the role of allergen avoidance and environmental controls in the treatment of allergic rhinitis?

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Patients who have seasonal allergies should avoid outdoor activities when allergens are in the air. The patient's house and workplace should be kept as clean as possible.

House dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions, and the antigen is found in their feces. Control measures include removing reservoirs (eg, stuffed animals, carpets, heavy drapes), covering bedding with dust-mite–proof covers, and washing potential reservoirs in hot water. Frequent vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate-arresting (HEPA) vacuum and use of acaricides (eg, benzyl benzoate) and products that denature dust mite antigen (eg, tannic acid) are encouraged. In addition, lowering the relative humidity to less than 50% and lowering the temperature to less than 70°F are helpful in controlling the dust mite population.

If removing pets is not feasible, they should be kept at least out of the bedroom. Also, frequent vacuuming with an HEPA vacuum and washing the animals are helpful in decreasing the allergen load.

Molds are present throughout the year in damp areas, both indoors and outdoors. Attention should be paid to reservoirs such as refrigerator drip pans, areas around air conditioner condensers and under sinks, indoor plants, and decaying vegetation in the yard. The use of a dehumidifier and an HEPA air-filtration system is also encouraged.


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