Steps to Manage Winter Allergies
Winter may not seem like an allergy season for most people. Spring and summer are the seasons usually associated with allergies because of the pollen. However, winter allergens such as mold, dust mites, and pet dander can trigger your allergies.
Distinguishing between Winter Allergies and Common Cold:
The symptoms of winter allergies are coughing, itchy eyes and nose, runny nose and water eyes.
These symptoms of winter allergies can be confused with common cold. If you have common cold, the symptoms would away in 5 to 7 days. Allergy symptoms, however, can stay for weeks and can be intermittent.
The nasal secretions in common cold are thick. In the case of allergies, the secretions are clear and watery. Also, allergic symptoms involve itchiness in the eyes and throat.
Allergens which Cause Winter Allergies:
Winter allergies are caused due to the indoor allergens. During the winter season, we tend to stay indoors and this can worsen your allergies. Here are the allergens which cause winter allergies:
Mold is a fungus which grows in moist spaces, piles of leaves, garbage cans, and basement. Mold breaks down the dead animal, plant matter returning their nutrients back to earth. Mold spreads through tiny, lightweight spores which travel through air. These mold spores are responsible for triggering allergies
Dust mites are spider-like microscopic creatures, which survive by feeding on dead skin flakes shed by humans and animals. Dust mites are present in bedding, furniture, mattresses etc. The shells, feces and corpses of the dust mites are responsible for triggering the allergies
Pet allergens such as pet dander, urine and saliva can trigger allergies. Dogs and cats shed skin flakes/dander which cause allergies
Winter is also provides most opportunity for holiday parties. Using perfumes, scented candles can also trigger allergies in some people.
Steps to Manage Winter Allergies:
Here are a few steps to manage winter allergies:
Wash your bedding:
Wash your blankets, pillow cases and sheets in hot water of 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the dust mites. Washing regularly about once a week or twice a month is recommended
Use allergy-proof covers:
Use allergy-proof covers for your pillows, mattresses to prevent dust mites
Vacuum your rooms, carpets regularly with a HEPA enabled vacuum cleaner to reduce molds and dust mites
Use HEPA air filter to remove the dust, mold, and change it regularly
Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity level in your home below 50%. This will help you to control the dust mites and mold
Remove the clutter:
Dust and mold can grow in places such as book collection, stuffed toys, old wallpapers etc. Removing the clutter and cleaning the surfaces, floors with a cloth can also prevent dust and mold growth
Winter allergies can be best controlled if you avoid the allergens. During winter, people tend to stay indoors. Hence, by taking proper precautions you can avoid indoor allergens and prevent winter allergies.