Check Yourself for Allergies

Check Yourself for Allergies

There are a few safe things you can do to see if you have allergies.

Recently my doctor gave me some allergy medication samples to treat my allergies, even though we don’t know what they are. I asked if I could just make some simple changes to try and eliminate the triggers of my allergies within my own life, but he said that would require expensive allergy testing—and since I didn’t have insurance I couldn’t afford it.

But you know what? There are a few things we can do to see what we are allergic to. I am not telling you to eat shellfish or to roll around with bees to see if you are allergic to them—you might not make it out alive to report your findings, after all! But I am saying that we can eliminate potential triggers from our lives to see if it makes them improve. Here are a few ideas.

Remove your pets. Did you know that some people are allergic to hamsters? It’s rare but real. I am not telling you to abandon Fluffy at the corner, but get him a cozy pet sitter for a week and clean out all of his fur and toys from the house just to see what happens. Does the lack of dander make it better? Maybe your doctor could give you some kind of medication to help you be able to keep your pets and your health at the same time.

Get rid of dust in your home. Clean everything really well. Get rid of the carpet if you’re up to it—if not, try a carpet cleaner. You don’t even have to hire one of those expensive companies; just rent one for $25 at your local grocery store. Get some hypoallergenic sheets and pillowcases if you can afford them and try them out; if not, just wash them in hot water to kill any dust mites. You can also freeze them—do the same with stuffed animals—for a good 48 hours. Stuff them in a trash bag first, of course!

Perform your own scratch test. Like I said before, don’t expose yourself knowingly to something that will potentially kill you—but if you are already around pollen, it shouldn’t hurt to dab some on your skin and see if it irritates you.

Eliminate potential trigger foods. Whether it’s milk and dairy, meat (or the hormones within the meat), nonorganic foods with pesticides, whatever—try going a couple of weeks without it and see what happens. Some people find that bread, of all things, causes their irritation, while many others find that after eliminating dairy, they have few, if any, problems, which makes sense since most people do have some form of lactose intolerance (which explains why you feel the way you do after you eat some cheese curds at the local drive in).