How to Avoid Eye Allergies in Nigeria

How to Avoid Eye Allergies in Nigeria

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are common conditions that affect many people in Nigeria and around the world. They are caused by exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, or cosmetics, which trigger an immune response in the eyes. The symptoms of eye allergies include itching, redness, watering, swelling, and sensitivity to light. These symptoms can interfere with daily activities and affect the quality of life of those who suffer from them.

Fortunately, there are various ways to prevent or avoid eye allergies and reduce the risk of developing them. Here are some helpful tips to follow:

1. Know your triggers and avoid them

The first step in preventing or avoiding eye allergies is to know what triggers them and avoid them as much as possible. You can do this by getting tested by an allergist to determine the cause of your allergies, or by keeping a diary of your symptoms and exposure to potential allergens. Some of the most common triggers of eye allergies in Nigeria are:

Outdoor allergens: pollens from grass, weeds, and trees. These are more prevalent during the dry season, especially in the northern regions of Nigeria, where the harmattan wind blows dust and sand from the Sahara desert. To avoid outdoor allergens, you can:

1. Stay indoors as much as possible, especially on windy days or when the pollen count is high.

2. Use air conditioning or fans to keep the air cool and clean. Change the filters regularly and clean the vents and ducts.

3. Wear glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen and dust. Avoid contact lenses, as they can trap allergens and irritate your eyes.

3. Rinse your eyes with saline solution or artificial tears to wash away the allergens. Do not rub your eyes, as this can worsen the inflammation and increase the risk of infection.

Indoor allergens: dust mites, pet dander, and mold. These are more prevalent during the rainy season, especially in the southern regions of Nigeria, where the humidity and temperature are high. To avoid indoor allergens, you can:

1. Keep your home clean and dry. Vacuum and dust regularly, and wash your bedding, curtains, and carpets in hot water. Use hypoallergenic covers for your pillows and mattresses.

2. Reduce the number of pets in your home, or keep them out of your bedroom. Bathe and groom your pets regularly, and wash your hands after touching them.

3. Prevent mold growth by fixing any leaks, ventilating your rooms, and using dehumidifiers or exhaust fans. Clean any moldy surfaces with bleach or vinegar, and wear a mask and gloves when doing so.

Irritants: cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust, pollution, and perfumes. These are more prevalent in urban areas, where the traffic and industrial activities are high. To avoid irritants, you can:

1. Avoid smoking or being around smokers, as cigarette smoke can aggravate your eye allergies and cause other health problems. Quit smoking if you are a smoker, or seek help from your doctor or a support group.

2. Avoid exposure to diesel exhaust, pollution, and perfumes, as these can irritate your eyes and nose. Use public transportation, carpool, or bike instead of driving, and avoid busy roads and crowded places. Choose unscented or natural products for your personal care and household cleaning.

2. Use medication or eye drops to treat your symptoms

The second step in preventing or avoiding eye allergies is to use medication or eye drops to treat your symptoms and provide relief. There are different types of medication or eye drops available, such as antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, decongestants, or corticosteroids. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your preference and condition. You can consult your doctor or pharmacist to find out the best option for you. Some of the most popular and reputable brands of medication or eye drops for eye allergies in Nigeria are:

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains ketotifen, a potent antihistamine that provides fast and long-lasting relief for eye allergies. It can be used up to twice a day and is suitable for adults and children over 3 years old. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.

ALCON Pataday Once Daily Relief: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains olopatadine, a powerful antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer that provides 24-hour relief for eye allergies. It can be used once a day and is suitable for adults and children over 2 years old. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.

Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains polyethylene glycol and propylene glycol, which are ocular lubricants that moisturize and soothe the eyes. It can be used as needed and is suitable for people who have dry eyes or wear contact lenses. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.

TheraTears Extra Dry Eye Therapy: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains sodium carboxymethylcellulose, which is an ocular lubricant that hydrates and protects the eyes. It can be used as needed and is suitable for people who have mild eye allergies or dry eyes. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.

Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A Allergy Eye Drops: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains naphazoline and pheniramine, which are a decongestant and an antihistamine, respectively. They work together to reduce the redness and itching of eye allergies. It can be used up to four times a day and is suitable for adults and children over 6 years old. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.

Naphcon-A Eye Drops: This is an over-the-counter eye drop that contains naphazoline and pheniramine, which are a decongestant and an antihistamine, respectively. They work together to reduce the redness and itching of eye allergies. It can be used up to four times a day and is suitable for adults and children over 6 years old. It has a high rating and positive feedback from customers who have used it.


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3. Adopt traditional practices that boost your immune system

The third step in preventing or avoiding eye allergies is to adopt traditional practices that boost your immune system and help you fight off the allergens. These practices are based on the wisdom and experience of the Nigerian people and have been proven to be effective and beneficial for many generations. Some of these practices are:

Natural delivery: Giving birth naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery, can help the baby develop a strong and balanced immune system. This is because natural delivery exposes the baby to the mother’s vaginal and fecal microbes, which are essential for the colonization and maturation of the baby’s gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is a key factor in the development and regulation of the immune system and can influence the risk of developing allergic diseases. Therefore, natural delivery can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of eye allergies in the baby.

Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the best way to nourish and protect the baby from infections and allergies. Breast milk contains antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and other beneficial substances that help the baby fight off pathogens and allergens. Breast milk also contains prebiotics and probiotics, which are food and bacteria that support the growth and health of the baby’s gut microbiome. Breastfeeding can also help the mother bond with the baby and reduce the stress levels that can trigger or worsen eye allergies. Therefore, breastfeeding can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of eye allergies in both the mother and the baby.

Weaning with pap and soya milk: Pap and soya milk are traditional foods that are used to wean babies off breast milk in Nigeria. Pap is a fermented cereal porridge made from maize, millet, or sorghum, and soya milk is a plant-based milk made from soybeans. Both pap and soya milk are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and probiotics, which can help the baby grow and develop a healthy immune system. Pap and soya milk can also help the baby get used to different tastes and textures, and prevent the development of food allergies. Therefore, weaning with pap and soya milk can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of eye allergies in the baby.

Surrounding the new mother with family members: In many Nigerian cultures, it is customary for the new mother to be surrounded by her family members, especially her mother and sisters, for the first few weeks or months after giving birth. This practice can help the new mother recover from the delivery, cope with the challenges of motherhood, and receive emotional and practical support. It can also help the baby interact with different people, and expose the baby to different microbes that can enhance the diversity and resilience of the baby’s gut microbiome. Therefore, surrounding the new mother with family members can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of eye allergies in both the mother and the baby.

Conclusion

By following these three steps, you can prevent or avoid eye allergies and enjoy a more comfortable and symptom-free life. Remember, eye allergies are treatable and manageable, and you do not have to suffer from them. With the right knowledge, medication, and practices, you can overcome eye allergies and improve your eye health and well-being.

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