Managing Your Indoor Allergies During the Winter

 

If you’re having allergy symptoms during winter, the likely culprit is indoor allergies. The top indoor allergy triggers are dust mites, pet dander and mold.

These year-round allergens never go away and are responsible for your perennial allergic rhinitis, or nasal allergies. The word rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose."

Seasonal allergies, on the other hand, are triggered by pollens in the spring and fall.

What are some things you can do to keep indoor allergies at bay?

Take steps to feel better by controlling the triggers inside your home.

  • Lower your indoor humidity to reduce dust mites and mold. Mold and dust mites thrive when indoor humidity is above 50 percent. Your goal is to keep humidity below 45 percent; below 35 percent is even better. Use a dehumidifier to do this.
  • Consider adding a HEPA filter on your central furnace. This can help trap dust mites and mold spores from the entire house.
  • If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting. Vacuuming is not enough to remove all dust mites and pet dander. When you do vacuum, use ones with HEPA filters to help keep mites and mite waste from getting back into the air.

Pay special attention to your bedroom, where you spend a lot of time.

  • Cover your mattresses and pillows with zippered dust-proof covers. Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.
  • If you have a pet allergy and have cats or dogs, make them stay out of your bedroom and off of your bed. When you have a pet allergy, your body's immune system reacts to their urine, saliva or dander. A truly "hypoallergenic" dog does not exist.

Is it an allergy or a cold?

You might find it difficult to tell the difference between a winter cold and allergies if you are sneezing and sniffling. Here are two clues:

  • Are your eyes or nose itchy?
  • Is the "cold" not going away?

If so, it may be time to see a board-certified allergist for advice.

It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive ongoing information about managing your health. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other people who manage asthma and allergies.

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