As fall winds down and winter’s cooler temperatures move in, allergy sufferers breathe a sigh of relief. Gone are the days of high pollen counts and warm breezes bringing dust and other allergens into the house. Winter, however, brings its own array of allergens. Molds and mildew thrive in cool, moist environments and more time indoors means more exposure to dandruff and indoor pollutants, leading to winter allergies. There are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to winter allergens.
Is It Winter Allergies or a Cold?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your stuffy nose and sneezing are from allergies or a cold. There are several distinctions however, that will tell you whether to reach for cold remedies or allergy medications. Colds cause discolored nasal secretions and may be accompanied by chills and body aches. Symptoms rarely last longer than a week. Allergy symptoms include clear, watery nasal discharge, itchy eyes and throat, and the symptoms hang on for weeks at a time.
Removing Indoor Allergens
In the winter, we tend to spend more time indoors, so we’re exposed to more indoor pollutants and allergens. Reducing the allergens in the environment can help curb symptoms.
- Use exhaust fans when showering or cooking to lower the overall humidity
- Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum and mop frequently to reduce dust
- Wash your hands frequently
- Bath family pets if practical, to reduce exposure to dander
- Launder bed linens and pajamas in water at or above 130F to kill dust mites
Survey Your Home for Allergy Triggers
Check your home frequently for allergy triggers. Plants with rotting vegetation offer molds prime growth space. Firewood close to the house can retain moisture, creating a pocket of humidity and mold. A musty, damp basement is another space where mold and mildew can thrive. Consider adding dehumidifiers to reduce the humidity in damp areas, and install HEPA filters in your furnace.
If winter allergies are getting you down, call today to make an appointment at AlphaCare. We’ll help you develop a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your allergy symptoms this winter.