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Blessings...there are ways to deal with allergies Special To The Star-news | Thu, Jun 10 2010 03:22 PM

Allergies are nothing to sneeze at. An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from them. According to the Mayo Clinic, allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander.

You have an allergy when your body overreacts to things that don't cause problems for most people. These things are called allergens. Your body's overreaction to the allergens is what causes symptoms. Allergies are grouped by the kind of trigger, time of year or where symptoms appear on the body.

Allergy symptoms can include:

* Congestion

* Itchy, runny nose

* Itchy, watery or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)

* Hives

* Difficulty breathing.

You may want to see a doctor if you have symptoms you think may be caused by an allergy. Your doctor will help you take steps to identify and avoid your allergy triggers, generally the most important step in preventing allergic reactions and reducing symptoms.

To reduce symptoms caused by dust mites or pet dander, consider frequently washing stuffed toys in hot water, maintaining low humidity, regularly using a vacuum with a fine filter such as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and replacing carpeting with hard flooring.

Since the bedroom generally contains the greatest number of dust mites and pet allergens, it's the most important room to allergen-proof.

To help combat allergies in the bedroom, you can get Protect-A-Bed's Allergy Protection Kit of essential tools for complete allergy mattress protection. The unique technology featured in the mattress and pillow protection products offers a dry, anti-allergy and bed bug-free sleep environment.

The first essential layer of defense against allergens is the mattress encasement, which should never be removed. AllerZip encasements feature a three-sided zipper for ease of use and are completely allergen escape- and entry-proof with an innovative Allergen Flap that prevents any allergens from entering or exiting through the zipper. Double-stitched seams and the soft, waterproof surface also add a further level of protection around the entire encasement. Featuring the innovative Miracle Membrane, each encasement keeps liquids out and stain-proofs the mattress, yet it remains breathable.

The second layer of defense against harmful allergens is the Mattress Protector. It provides a barrier against allergens and dust mites and keeps the encasement sanitary and protected from spills and accidents. With an absorbent cotton terry surface that is cool and comfortable to sleep on, the protector also provides a two-way barrier for the mattress and the user to protect against allergens, dust mites and accidents. It has a fitted sheet-style skirt that will stretch to fit mattresses without shifting. It doesn't alter the feel of the mattress and can be removed for washing as easily as sheets.

Rounding out the entire Allergy Protection Kit and providing a complete, allergy-free sleep zone is the Pillow Protector. Consider that your face is in constant contact with your bedding while you sleep. Pillow Protectors shield you from breathing in the allergens that may already exist in the pillow.

With a cotton terry surface, the system's unique Pillow Protectors provide a cool, comfortable place to sleep and are easy to use: Simply slip them over pillows and zipper them shut.

You can learn more at www. protectabed.com and (866) 297-8836.

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