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Allergies    Depression    Headaches    Stress   
ALLERGIES
Also see: AIR PURIFIERS

- Reducing someone's exposure to dust mites may reduce the risk of developing allergies to other allergens (e.g., pollen, mold), especially for children

To reduce exposure to dust mites:
Bedroom:

____ Reduce number of stuffed animals, books, picture frames, etc. - they collect dust, etc.
____ Encase mattress, pillows, etc. in dustproof, zippered plastic covers
____ Consider using an air purifier regularly (e.g., weekly), especially if you're highly sensitive

Daily:
____ Check pollen levels for your area: pollen.com

Regularly (e.g., weekly):
____ Wash bed sheets, pillow cases, stuffed animals, etc. weekly in very hot water

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DEPRESSION

If you think you are suffering from depression:
____ Be aware that depression is usually very treatable
____ Be aware that if depression is not treated it can be fatal
____ Consider whether you suffer one or more of the following symptoms of depression:
          - Feeling restless or slowed down
          - Feeling worthless
          - Feeling guilty
          - A change in your appetite and/or weight
          - Thoughts of suicide
          - Difficulty concentrating
          - Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
          - Excessively tired
          - Headaches
          - Digestive problems
          - Aches and pains
          - Sexual problems

____ Consult with your doctor and/or a counselor

____ Ask your doctor which of the following might help:
          - More sleep
          - More exercise
          - Exposure to a special lamp which can elevate your mood

If you're considering taking the herb St. John's Wort:
____ Check with your doctor first
____ Be aware that it is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration
____ Be aware that it may cause:
          - Upset stomach
          - Fatigue
          - Sensitivity to the sun
          - Headaches

If your depression might be connected to a traumatic event (e.g., rape, assault, war):
____ Consider asking a medical professional about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

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HEADACHES

PREVENTING HEADACHES:
To help prevent headaches:

____ Try avoiding the following potential causes:
          - Too much caffeine
          - Caffeine withdrawal
          - Bright lights
          - Alcohol, especially red wine
          - Cheese, especially aged cheese
          - Chocolate
          - Aspartane (artificial sweetner)
          - Dairy products
          - Hot dogs
          - Pizza
          - MSG
          - Figs
          - Peanut butter
          - Meats with nitrates (e.g., salami, bologna)
          - Sour cream
          - Nuts
          - Herring
          - Bananas
          - Lima beans
          - Onions
          - Yogurt
          - Smell of perfume or scented products
          - Missing meals
          - Not enough sleep
          - Too much sleep
          - Staying in one position (e.g., at a computer) for too long
          - Stormy weather
          - Breathing smoke
          - Premenstrual Syndrome - reduce salt
          - Menstrual migraines - most common type of migraine
          - Birth control pills

TREATING HEADACHES:
____ Consider trying whichever of the following seem appropriate:
          - Vitamins (B, esp. B-2 (Riboflavin))
          - Magnesium supplements
          - Massage
          - Accupuncture
          - Biofeedback - relaxation therapy which helps you control blood flow, muscle tension
          - Herbs (e.g., Feverfew)
          - Seeing a chiropractor

If headaches increase in frequency and/or troubling and/or requires medication and/or does not respond to treatments which used to work for you:
____ Stop smoking
____ Limit caffeine
____ Avoid alcohol

If headaches persist:
____ See a doctor to determine the possible causes - some headaches are caused by heredity
____ Ask your doctor if your headaches might be caused by hormones - a reported 70% of headaches are caused by hormones
____ Don't hesitate to seek treatment even if people tell you to put up with the headaches
____ Try to find a hospital or clinic which specializes in headaches

CHILDREN:
- Migraine headaches are the most common type of headache in children under 7
If your child has one or more of the following indications of a possible migraine headache:
          - Unexplained vomiting
          - Stomach pain
          - Changes in behavior
          - Sleep disorders
          - Irritability
          - Head-banging episodes
          - Temper tantrums
____ Take your child to a doctor
____ Advise the doctor if there is a family history of migraine headaches
____ Ask your doctor about treating with:
          - Antihistamines
          - Antidepressants

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STRESS

____ Be aware of the following symptoms of harmful stress:
- Increased anger
- Frustrated by little things
- Losing confidence
- Not feeling good about yourself
- Inability to concentrate
- Sleep problems - difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Apathy - lack of interest in things
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heartbeat
- Sweaty palms
- Tense muscles

To manage your level of stress:
___ Be aware that a certain level of stress is normal and helps you perform close to your potential
___ Try to identify the specific things which are causing you excessive stress, e.g., what are you worried will happen?
___ Ensure you fully understand the situation you're concerned about (if necessary, get more information by asking questions, doing research, etc.)
___ Take concrete steps to take control of your situation, e.g., confronting the problem (remember that while you may not be able to control the people and situations affecting you, you can control your responses to them) - avoiding the problems won't make them go away and will probably make them worse
___ Break the problem(s) into manageable parts
___ Delegate actions to other people when feasible
___ Write down your problems/concerns and possible solutions/actions - it can relieve stress and can help you identify and keep track of what needs to be done
___ Consider lowering your expectations as a method of reducing your stress - sometimes you won't be able to do everything you'd like to do or do things as well as you'd like
___ Consider joining a group of people with concerns similar to yours, e.g., support group

Regularly:
___ Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, filling your lungs completely (try to take about 40 of these deep breaths each day, spread evenly throughout your day ... consider picking one or more things to remind you to take a few deep breaths, e.g., the phone ringing)
___ Think positively (focus on positive options for your life and specific actions to achieve those goals)
___ Talk with others (especially people you trust) about your concerns, possible solutions and specific actions you can take
___ Relax your body to help relax your mind
___ Take breaks
___ Eat well (avoid caffeine, alcohol, drugs, etc.) - eating junk food usually increases your stress 1-3 hours later
___ Drink plenty of water
___ Get plenty of exercise (consider at least 30 minutes of exercise 4-6 times per week)
___ Get plenty of sleep (if you have trouble sleeping, try exercising well before bedtime)
___ Ensure you take time out for yourself, e.g., relaxation exercises, long hot bath, time with friends, yoga, meditation, massage, sports, entertainment
___ Manage your time effectively, e.g., be prepared to say "No" to demands on your time
___ Avoid procrastinating (perform necessary tasks first) - consider why you are having trouble getting started
___ Try to take a short (e.g., 15-20 minutes) nap each day, ideally in the afternoon
___ Try to maintain a sense of humor
___ Treat other people well - people will usually return the favor
___ Listen carefully to other people's concerns and suggestions

Occasionally:
___ Treat yourself, e.g., to a favorite food or activity

If you aren't able to manage your stress adequately:
___ Seek professional help, e.g., counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist

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