Surviving Winter Allergies

Get allergy relief this winter

Many allergy sufferers look forward to cold weather, as frost and snow mean the end of pollen, ragweed and other seasonal woes. But this isn't true for everyone: for some allergy sufferers, winter is actually the worst season for their symptoms. Fortunately, with the right information you can get allergy relief, even during the chilly months.

Wintertime allergies? You bet! These allergies are usually the fallout of our nice warm homes that have been sealed up tight against winter's harsh weather. It's not really the fault of the season - these allergens are always present in our homes, but in the winter they tend to be magnified.

We do lots of things to survive winter that move allergens from their hiding places and into the air. For instance, we turn on our furnaces to keep ourselves warm. As soon as we do this, our forced-air furnaces move dust, fiber, bacteria, animal dander and other particles into the air. In fact, common allergens like dust mites, dander and cockroach droppings are all more prevalent in the winter because we aren't airing out our homes as much.

Additionally, our nice warm homes become cozy residences for all kinds of pests including rodents, ticks, moths and even molds; all of which can be triggers for allergies. So it's not just the allergens we know about, such as animal dander and dust mites. It's those allergens that you don't know about that can cause you problems!

What else could be problematic? Well, your nicely sealed home will also keep in any gases from your stove, fumes from household cleansers, smoke from your wood fireplace and even secondhand smoke from cigarettes.

How can you prevent winter allergy problems? It's easy enough, if you follow a few tips for winter allergy relief:

  1. Clean your home regularly; weekly is best. As you get ready for the winter and are sealing up your home, a thorough cleaning from top to bottom is also ideal.
  2. Mold can be a real problem in many homes. Slow its growth by keeping your home's humidity below 40 percent. Your best ally is a dehumidifier.
  3. You also have to keep airborne particles out of the air. This can be done by cleaning filters for your furnace and dehumidifier as recommended by the manufacturer. In fact, you can change the filter more frequently on your furnace in order to ensure that you have the maximum particle-trapping capability.
  4. Kitchens and bathrooms are prime locations for humidity, and subsequently mold. Good ventilation will help a lot, and you can also clean periodically with a solution that kills mold and its spores.
  5. If dust mites are your biggest problem, put your focus on the bedroom. Be sure to wash all bedding in hot water once a week, to get rid of mites and their excrement. Another helpful tip is to encase your box spring, mattress and pillows in dust mite proof covers. You can buy these at many bedding outlets.

  6. September 15, 2005

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