Saturday, January 11, 2014

Decontamination Action Plan

The following steps to decontaminate ones surroundings are for individuals with severe allergic asthma; however, it might also be useful for anyone with an allergy.  Now, I understand there there is a flood of information online that informs the reader of ways to reduce indoor allergens at home.  Most articles take a mitigating approach that offer suggestions to reduce pet allergens suitable for individuals living with or wanting to live with a pet.  Sadly, that makes these articles inadequately useful for myself and anyone with severe or life-threatening allergies.  

Mary Oliver.I'm an asthmatic and severely allergic to dogs.  This means that any lengths of time spend around dogs or being in enclosed areas in which dogs have previously been will result in an asthma attack.  Articles that suggest I don't let the family dog sleep at the foot of my bed are of no use to someone like me.

The following recommendations are based on my experiences, it is for when aeroallergen avoidance measures fail and I'm exposed to allergens.  

How to help yourself?

  1. Go home!  Seriously, go home when breathing issues start.  No matter what the situation, please don’t hesitate to leave when you have to.  Do not compromise your health and do not medicate yourself just to make a social situation happen.  Furthermore, do not try to tough it out until you can't hide or take your symptoms any longer.
  2. When you get home, strip out of your clothing immediately, no matter how exhausted or unwell you feel.  Do not sit or lay down in your home, as this will only spread the allergens.  Decontaminating your entire living space is much more difficult to do in the midst of an asthma attack.  I will talk about that in part 2 (How to Rid Your Home of Asthma Triggers).  
  3. Immediately contain all contaminates.  Machine-wash all your clothing (and wipe down your shoes and accessories).  Alternatively, you can stuff your garments into a plastic trash bag and close it tightly until you're ready to deal with them.  It's best to keep the bag of contaminants outside or in a room you won't use (with the door closed).
  4. Finally, shower and thoroughly clean your body and hair.
These precautions sound a bit obsessive but they do help to alleviate my symptoms faster and sometimes, if I'm lucky, they can stop an asthma attack before it gets started. 
StayHealthy♡  Nina

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