Seasonal allergies might be more closely associated with pollen and sunshine, the winter months are not exempt from the discomfort of watery eyes, a scratchy throat or a runny nose. While there may be less outdoor allergens to contend with, spending more time indoors can increase exposure to irritants like dust mites, pet dander, mold, household sprays and other chemicals.
Luckily, there are ways to make your home more allergy-friendly for the winter. Try these eight tips to ease your symptoms.
1. Clean your floors regularly
Use a HEPA vacuum at least once a week on your carpets and maintain a sweeping and mopping routine to clean any tile or hardwood. Pet hair and dust mites easily gather on floors and in carpets, so cleaning regularly is the best way to ensure allergen levels stay low.
2. Utilize a humidifier or dehumidifier
During the winter, the humidity levels in your home should be kept between 30 and 40 percent to reduce the likelihood of mold growth and mites. You can use a humidifier or dehumidifier to achieve these levels, depending on where you live—just remember to regularly change the water and filter.
3. Purify your sleep area
Your bedroom is where you spend a large chunk of your time, but it’s also unfortunately a breeding ground for popular indoor allergens. Reduce the irritability by routinely washing your linens and pajamas in hot water and consider purchasing allergy covers for your pillows or mattress.
4. Bathe your four-legged friend
If you struggle with pet dander problems, bathing your dog every week or every other week can help cut down on the severity of your reaction. Also, if possible, keep your pet out of the bedroom to maintain the integrity of your sleep area.
5. Clean your heating ducts and filters
Your heating system is practically a playground for dust and dust mites. Getting your ducts professionally cleaned and changing your heating filters every month can help keep your heating system from becoming a greater problem for your allergies.
6. Keep firewood outside
Mold spores can quickly and easily grow on cut wood, so don’t make the mistake of storing your firewood inside. Also, be mindful of any outdoor irritants that may be making it indoors on your clothes or pet. For instance, wet leaves tend to breed mold or mildew, so make sure you take off your shoes as soon as you enter your home.
7. Use a saline solution or nose spray
Saltwater can be an effective way to reduce nose congestion and give you some temporary relief. You can find saline nose sprays at any pharmacy or grocery store, or make your own by combining 8 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt.
8. Talk to your doctor
If your allergy symptoms become unmanageable, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or meet with an allergist to discuss potential treatment plans. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter allergy medication and determine if you are a good candidate for allergy shots.
There’s no reason for the sniffles to get you down this winter. By taking proper precautions and reducing irritants in your home, you can handle the winter allergy season.
Visit the patient portal to make an appointment with your doctor today to learn more about managing winter allergies.