Avoiding Winter Allergies:
You most likely spend the winter months indoors, but why do you still experience allergy symptoms? Being inside your home doesn’t mean you are safe from allergens. It’s knowing what these are and the actions to take that will save you from unwanted indoor sneezing and wheezing during the cold season.
Causes of Winter Allergies
Outdoor allergens like pollen are not present during the winter so they are not a cause for concern. What you should be worried about are the indoor allergens that can be lurking in your home. These are the most common:
- Cockroach droppings. Roaches love places that are humid and dark, most especially if that space is a source of food. These insects are scavengers and if they find access to food in your home, they will not hesitate to live there.
- Dander. This refers to the dead skin flakes of pets, not their hair.
- Dust mites. These really small bugs like to stay in the bedding, carpeting, or upholstered furniture. In addition, they are the most common cause of indoor allergies.
- Indoor Mold. This can be found in spaces that are damp such as the basement or the bathroom. Although it’s common to breathe in mold spores, exposure to someone with allergies can bring about congestion, itchiness, and sneezing.
Actions to Take to Prevent Winter Allergies
Avoiding allergies during winter is pretty simple and can be summarized in this way: improve indoor air quality. While that is easy to utter, how can it be done?
- Reduce dryness in the air with a humidifier. The cold season means turning up the heater to keep comfortable. However, doing so can make indoor air drier. Installing a humidifier can help reduce dryness in the air, but make sure to keep it at a level that doesn’t invite dust mites and mold inconveniences that thrive in high humidity.
- Use a HEPA air purifier. Models like the Healthmate Jr have true medical-grade HEPA filters that are effective in removing indoor air pollutants. Put this in spaces where you spend a lot of time in this usually means the bedroom.
- Give pets a bath once a week. Doing this can reduce dander. Once a week bathing is recommended and not more since doing it frequently can dry out the coat and skin of your pet. It also helps to keep pets out of the room of those who suffer from allergies.
- Use hot water to wash sheets once a week. This prevents dust mites from thriving. Using hypoallergenic cases for your mattresses and pillows also helps. Clean your home regularly. Regular dusting and vacuuming can get rid of indoor allergens. You can also get vacuum cleaners that have HEPA filters since they trap more dust.
Allergens like dander can travel via clothes and affect you when outdoors. While preventing allergies from this kind of contact is difficult to prevent, you can always take measures to ensure your allergy risk at home is significantly reduced.