What Are Winter Allergies?
Winter isn't a season you often associate with allergies, but they can be just as prevalent for people who are subject to allergies. You aren't bothered by the pollens that are normally the cause of summer allergies, but there are plenty of indoor allergens that tend to increase in intensity because your home is closed up during the winter months.
The Four Biggest Culprits
There are four winter allergens that cause the most problems for those susceptible to them. These are pet dander, dust mites, mold/mildew, and cockroaches.
Pet dander is an allergy to the droppings of your pet and not to their hair as many people think. Keeping litter boxes cleaned daily and giving both dogs and cats regular baths can help eliminate much of the problem.
Dust mites thrive all year round. These tiny bugs make their home in upholstery, carpeting and other areas consisting of fabric throughout your home. Running a carpet sweeper daily will help keep them to a minimum.
Mold and mildew love damp places like basements and bathrooms. Any place that is subject to warm, damp conditions can cause them to grow and thrive. While not as dangerous as many believe, for those with breathing problems and allergies, especially the very young and the elderly, hidden mold or mildew can be debilitating. Using a moisture absorbing agent in these areas can help as can buying a dehumidifier.
Cockroaches don't only inhabit places that are dirty. These hardy bugs can find their way into any home and can thrive on the smallest amount of food and water. Keep all your pipes free of leaks. Cover any food items immediately after a meal and make sure all the cracks and crevices into your home are covered.
Minimize the Risk
While you can't eliminate the risks of winter allergies completely, there are some things you can do to minimize the effects.
- Buy a humidifier to help prevent dry noses, which are more susceptible to infection
- Keep the humidity level in your home around 50%, as too much humidity can make mold and mildew worse
- Use area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Dust mites will be less likely to find a space to live; cover furniture with throws and wash the throws weekly
- Buy a vacuum with a good HEPA filter; use it along with mopping and dusting regularly to help keep dust under control
- Bathe your pets once a week. Any more often is likely to dry out their skin (and really irritate your cat) and keep all pets out of your sleeping area
- Use protective mattress and pillow coverings and wash all bedding once a week
Let Us Help
Despite all your efforts, there are still ways to pick up allergens in public places, especially the workplace. You can't stop them completely. If winter allergies have you wishing Spring was already here, contact us today. Our experienced staff will have you feeling in top shape quickly so you can enjoy the winter holidays and all the activities this time of year offers.