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  • Writer's picturedocschleg

A Boring Approach to Allergies

Did you know there may be a link between autism and allergies? Over the years, I have heard many stories supporting this claim, but a recent interaction caused me to investigate such a link. I’ll post two articles I found:

The WebMD article features comments by your friend and mine, Tom Frazier. Frazier is among the professionals indicating that there is an increased rate of all kinds of allergies among individuals with autism. In addition, he points out that many people with autism also struggle with communication and cannot effectively talk about their symptoms, so parents and professionals should be alert to signs of allergies in their children.

The original anecdote that inspired me to research this topic was familiar. The person told me she had intense allergies, which might be related to the cleanliness of her room. For one reason or another, many of my clients choose to spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. Indeed, even my adult clients often work or go to college from their bedrooms. When asked, she said she could not recall the last time she vacuumed or dusted her room.

Many allergies require the care of physicians, behaviorists, or nutritionists, but dust allergies can be partially addressed through regular and thorough cleaning of the living space. If you suspect the dust in your room is causing you congestion, headaches, or sleep disturbance, you should consider a wall-to-wall cleaning of your room. Dust every surface and knickknack, pull all furniture away from the walls, and vacuum. Next, change the sheets on your bed and clean up the floor, putting things away where they go. Then, create a weekly (e.g., vacuuming, dusting, changing sheets) and daily (e.g., putting things away) cleaning routine. Finally, I recommend people get an air purifier for their room.

Sometimes I wish this “intervention” for dust allergies was more magical or sophisticated because I think more people might do it. But unfortunately, most of the people I talk to are bored with cleaning, even if it will positively impact their health. However, my experience over the years has convinced me that the positive effect is real, even if it doesn’t cure a person’s allergies. For that, science is advancing (see the second article) and providing new information on the link between autism and allergies.

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