Winter allergies can be a difficult time of year for many people. You might think of springtime when allergies come to mind, but that’s not the case. Some people experience worse allergy symptoms in the winter when they spend more time indoors.
Would you believe nine out of ten homes harbor allergens that can trigger symptoms? Although plants and grass are the most common spring and summer allergens, winter allergens are more likely to be related to:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Cockroach remnants
- Animal dander and droppings, such as mice and rats
Keeping the sneezing and watery eyes at bay can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are effective preventative strategies and treatments available to help reduce the impact of winter allergies. Let’s look at some of those.
Use a Vacuum with a HEPA Filter
Invest in a powerful vacuum and use it often. Vacuuming regularly helps remove allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander that build up in carpets, curtains, and upholstery. Taking the time to vacuum your home helps keep your living space clean and free of irritants, but also improves the air quality in your home and makes it a healthier and more pleasant environment for your family and guests.
When selecting a vacuum cleaner, choose one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters are designed to capture even the smallest particles, ensuring that allergens don’t get recirculated into the air and into your lungs. This is especially important if you or someone in your family has asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions.
Not only will you keep your home clean, but you’ll also create a healthier environment for your family. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you’re taking extra steps to care for the air quality in your home. Your family will thank you for it!
When vacuuming, focus on carpets, furniture, and curtains, which tend to trap allergens. and do it frequently, as the allergens can build up over time. Furthermore, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter ensures the vacuum bag captures the allergens, rather than releasing them into the air.
Plus, keep your home clean and dust-free! Use a damp cloth to dust surfaces, as this will help reduce airborne allergens. Taking the time to keep your home clean and dust-free can have a huge positive impact on your health and well-being. It can also create a sense of calmness and peace in your space, allowing you to come home to a healthier, happier environment.
Don’t Let Dampness Linger in Your Home
Dampness can be an issue during the winter months, and it can create a hospitable environment for mold, dust mites, and other allergens. To prevent the buildup of dampness in your home and better deal with winter allergies, keep your home well-ventilated. How can you do this?
Use fans to help circulate air, and a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels, which will reduce mold growth. Additionally, it is a good idea to routinely inspect your home for potential plumbing issues that can lead to moisture buildup.
If you know your home has a moisture problem, take steps to address it, such as using a sealant to close gaps in windows or using a mold-resistant paint on your walls. Taking these preventative measures can help reduce your winter allergy symptoms.
Monitor Your Home for Mold and Mildew
You may think of your home as a safe and comfortable place, but increased humidity can create an environment that’s conducive to the growth of mold and mildew, potentially leading to health risks. While mold and mildew may sound harmless, they can cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. That’s why it’s important to take steps to reduce humidity in your home and ensure you keep mold and mildew at bay.
Regularly check for signs of mold and mildew around windows, bathrooms, and basements. If you detect signs of mold, promptly remove it to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. Plus, mold can be toxic in other ways and isn’t safe to breathe in. The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is between 30-50%. If it’s higher than this, you may need to run a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture content and prevent mold growth.
Use Salt Water to Wash Out Your Sinuses
Sterile salt water is a simple and effective way to reduce the nasal stuffiness and pressure associated with winter allergies. When you use it as a nasal wash, the saltwater will help clear allergens and irritants from your sinuses, allowing you to breathe more easily. Start by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm sterile water (be sure it’s sterile), and then use a neti pot or a bulb syringe to irrigate your sinuses with the solution. After rinsing your sinuses, you may notice an immediate improvement in your symptoms.
Plus, you can use sterile salt water to rinse your mouth and throat to clear mucous. By combining salt water with other strategies, such as avoiding triggers and taking antihistamines, you can manage your winter allergies and enjoy the cold weather with less sneezing and stuffiness.
Change Your Bedding More Often
The winter months can be difficult if you suffer with allergies. One way to combat winter allergies is to change your bedding frequently. Wash your sheets, pillowcases, comforters, and blankets in hot water once a week. Vacuum your mattress and box spring to remove dust mites and other allergens. Cover your mattress and pillows with dust mite covers. Wash bedding at least once a week in hot water, as this helps kill dust mites and other allergens. Additionally, avoid using down-filled pillows, as they can harbor allergens.
Winter allergies can be tough, but they don’t have to ruin your season. With a few simple steps, such as avoiding triggers and using air purifiers, you can manage your winter allergies and still enjoy the snow and cold weather. Taking care of yourself during this season is important to keep your allergies in check and make this winter season the best yet.
- “What are Winter Allergies? | Allergy & Asthma Network.” allergyasthmanetwork.org/news/winter-allergies-causes-symptoms/.
- “Winter Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment – Verywell Health.” 21 Feb. 2022, verywellhealth.com/winter-allergies-5215209.
- “Winter Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments – Healthline.” 07 Dec. 2018, healthline.com/health/allergies/winter-allergies.
- What are Winter Allergies? | Allergy & Asthma Network. Allergy & Asthma Network. Published May 28, 2021. Accessed February 9, 2023. https://allergyasthmanetwork.org/news/winter-allergies-causes-symptoms/
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