Winter Allergies and Your Home Environment
Those who suffer from allergies caused by dust mites, mold or pet dander usually see an increase in their symptoms’ frequency and intensity at winter time. With the cold keeping everyone indoors, it is easy to be affected; however, there are several ways to combat indoor allergies this season!
Follow these few tips to reduce allergens in your home:
- Keep the humidity below 50% (30-40% is ideal) using a humidifier in dry areas and dehumidifier in damp areas. Balanced humidity prevents dust mites and mold from growing.
- Vacuum your carpets regularly with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to reduce the amount of dust mites and pet allergens.
- Consider replacing carpeting with hard floor surfaces that attract less allergens: tile, vinyl, laminate or hardwood. Mop hard floors regularly.
- Have someone else do the cleaning for you. Hire a cleaning service (or enroll a family member!) to do the dusting and vacuuming.
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130 degrees or more) to kill dust mites. Hypoallergenic cases for mattresses and pillows can help trap dust mites.
- Keep animals out of the bedroom and wash your hands after touching pets, if you are allergic to pet dander.
- Bathe your pets weekly to decrease dander levels. Don’t bathe them more often than once a week, as more frequent bathing dries out the pet’s skin, resulting in more dander.
- Use the exhaust fan when cooking or showering to decrease humidity.
- Switch to high-efficiency furnace filters that trap 30 times more allergens than normal filters.
- Reduce the number of objects that you can’t clean in your home, such as pillows or stuffed animals.
Remember that an allergic reaction can be easily confused with a simple cold. Before you take any medication, make sure you know how to tell them apart. For instance, cold symptoms appear slowly and one at a time, whereas allergy symptoms take effect rapidly and all at once.
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