The risk of winter allergies can be lowered by preventing the allergens that cause asthma and rhinitis. Although the springtime is more commonly known to produce allergens, the winter can also generate allergens.
During the wintertime we spend many more hours indoors, which can produce allergens. Common winter allergens are dust and mold, and even fragrances can set off an allergic reaction. But sometimes to improve winter allergens it’s important to manage other conditions, such as asthma, which can make them much worse.
Dust: Dust and dust mites are lurking in every inch of your home – even if you’re an avid cleaner. They are microscopic and can induce allergy-attacks. Dust and dust mites can be found in bedding, mattresses, carpets and upholstered furniture.
Removing dust and dust mites involves the use of dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows, along with regular washing of the bedding. Vacuuming carpeted areas is also effective in reducing dust and dust mites, and using an air filter can help trap anything airborne.
Mold: Mold can be found in damp environments, such as basements or washrooms. Mold can also be airborne and trigger asthma and rhinitis. To fix mold, plumbing issues need to be addressed and damp areas should be properly ventilated.
Make sure you look at ceiling tiles and underneath rugs as well; mold can hide in these areas – especially behind a toilet.
Animal dander: We all love our pets, but unfortunately they can leave behind dander that can cause an allergic reaction. Dander is dead skin cells from our animals, and it’s found on most animals including birds, rodents, cats and dogs. With more time being spent inside with our pets we become more exposed to their dander, causing worsened symptoms. To reduce reactions, make sure your pet doesn’t enter areas where you spend a lot of time, especially the bedroom because it will cause difficulty sleeping.
Christmas trees: Christmas trees, real or fake, do not necessarily cause allergies, but they can develop mold and even dust, which are two risk factors. If you opt for a real tree, wash it off prior to bringing it into the home to get rid of any mold. Even an artificial tree can develop mold and dust, depending on where it is stored. Giving your artificial tree a good cleaning will save you many nights of sneezing and watery eyes.
Smoke and pollutants: If you use firewood to keep warm in the winter, keep in mind that smoke is a common allergen that can affect allergies. Furthermore, if you’re using firewood that you’ve chopped and stored, it can also grow mold, so be mindful of this as well.
Now that you are aware of what allergens are present in the winter, here are some tips to help you reduce your exposure to them.
The best way to treat winter allergens is by knowing what yours are so you can devise a plan to reduce your exposure. You may find dust is worse than pet dander, for example. By following the above tips you can help reduce your risk of an allergy attack and actually begin to enjoy winter instead of dreading it. And remember, being cooped up inside for all those months can increase the risk of an allergic reaction, so try to head outdoors as much as possible.
Asthma in the winter can trigger asthma attacks and seasonal allergies. The cold winter air can be an asthmatic’s worst nightmare as it makes it far more difficult to breathe. Generally, asthma attacks increase during the winter months, not solely because of cold air, but because individuals spend more time inside, which can expose them to dust and mold. Continue reading…
As springtime kicks into gear, amid the improved moods and budding flowers will be one of the most frustrating things in the world. Allergies. But for every allergen that is outside, there is another possibility inside. Indoor allergens are a huge problem and affect probably about the same number of people as pollen and ragweed. Continue reading…