How Can I prevent winter allergies? PART 1
If you have pollen allergies, you may get a much appreciated break when the weather turns colder. If you suffer from indoor allergies like mold, pet dander and dust mites, the winter months can be a miserable time for allergies.
In the northern states, as temperatures outside go down, more people are staying indoors to avoid the cold. With almost 20 percent of the US population showing sensitivity to dust mites according to a study published online in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, allergy “season” may extend throughout the year. Controlling those indoor allergy triggers lurking in your home may require a different and more targeted approach.
4 Allergy Triggers to Watch Out for This Winter in the Northern States
Dust & Dust Mites
Microscopic, allergy symptom-inducing dust mites lurk in bedding, mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
Tip: Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows and wash bed linens weekly in hot water to kill dust mites. Vacuum all carpeted areas at least twice a week and use a HEPA air purifier especially in the bedrooms where you spend the majority of your time at home. Consider using a dehumidifier to keep humidity below 50 percent, which also helps to control dust mites.
A fungus that thrives in damp, humid areas such as basements and bathrooms.
Tip: To combat mold the EPA recommends fixing plumbing leaks, increasing ventilation in damp areas, and scrubbing mold off surfaces using water and a solution containing bleach, and drying completely.
Allergies to warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents are caused when a person has a reaction to proteins found in the animal's saliva, skin cells or urine.
Tip: Pets should be kept out of bedrooms and other highly-used areas in the home to reduce exposure, and they should be bathed once a week.
Smoke and Pollutants
Firewood brought into the home can contain mold spores and wood burned in a fireplace can release irritating smoke and other airborne pollutants, into the home environment, potentially causing allergic rhinitis or asthma symptoms.
Tip: Be sure that when bringing in any firewood into the home that it's been cleaned and checked for mold. In addition, when starting any fire, be sure that the chimney damper is open so that no unwanted smoke comes into the home.
Managing winter allergies
Managing allergies generally consists of balancing two things - control of the allergy symptoms by using drugs or natural remedies and avoiding the substances that trigger the allergic response. Your doctor will guide your medication plan, but you can avoid your allergy triggers and find relief yourself by using our list of top tips for managing your allergen exposure.
Indoor air is generally 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outside air. Since the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, managing your indoor environment is a safe and effective alternative to medications for controlling your allergies.
Before starting, know your triggers and in addition to the tips above, find a quality air purifier and filter that targets the allergens that cause you grief. We carry the top air purifiers on the market that address a broad range of health concerns.
Not all air purifiers are created for all concerns. We do the research for you! See the Top 3 air purifiers for the most common winter allergies.