Even though the pollen count plummets over the winter months, the cold temperatures come with a unique set of problems. Because we’re spending more time indoors with the windows closed, we’re more susceptible to allergens found inside the house. Animal dander, mold, and dust mites can all trigger allergy symptoms. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to rid your house of these pernicious pests.
1. Ventilation: At the thought of winter, most people want to close the windows and crank the heat up as high as possible. If you’re suffering from winter allergies though, the lack of ventilation is problematic. If the windows are all closed, as they typically are from November through March, allergens have time to accumulate. Try opening up the windows for some fresh air from time to time if you find that your allergies are acting up.
2. Humidity: Even though dry air will irritate your nasal passages, excessive humidity is even worse. Mold and dust mites grow more freely in very moist environments, so try to keep the humidity below 50%. If your indoor allergies flair up frequently, you should consider investing in a dehumidifier.
3. Laundry: Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week, and use a hypo-allergenic covers on your mattress and pillows to keep them free of dust mites.
4. Pets: Ideally, you should rid the house of any furry friends if you suffer from winter allergies. However, if putting your favorite four-footed companions up for adoption is not an option, you’ll want to make sure to both groom them properly and keep them out of the bedroom so that you can sleep easily.
5. Bathrooms: Mold loves to grow in warm, moist environments, which makes the bathroom particularly susceptible to fungus growth. Wipe down surfaces regularly with a dry towel or squeegee to keep the area dry. Run your bathroom fan during and after taking a shower, and scrub the walls of the shower and/or bathtub with a mixture of 90% water and 10% bleach to get rid of any currently growing mold and keep winter allergies at bay.
If these preventative measures aren’t enough, then you can go ahead and treat indoor winter allergies as you would outdoor allergies. Pick up over-the-counter medicine for daytime relief, and opt for a saline spray at night to clear your sinuses of any allergens before hitting the pillow. If your allergies start to interfere with day-to-day activities, then don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment at the office.