Allergy Triggers to Look Out For This Winter
As the season’s change and the cold sets in, we are often stuck indoors for most of the day. Although it may seem that winter arrives with his own set of allergens, some of the most common allergy triggers are the same throughout the summer and spring. Mold, dust, and dander (and food allergies) don’t go away in the winter months; in some cases, they become intensified. So, if you suffer from itchy eyes and runny noses in the spring, prepare yourself for the sneezing and wheezing of the winter. With windows closed and heat blazing, your winter home becomes the perfect environment to flare up your allergies. Don’t worry, you’re not alone: about twenty percent of Americans will experience some indoor allergy symptoms this winter. While your common outdoor allergens may have left, for now, your indoor allergy triggers are about to increase.
Read below to discover the top indoor allergy triggers this winter and what you can do to prevent them.
Whether you know it or not, we breathe in mold daily. The only reason it goes unnoticed is that mold only affects those who have an allergy or sensitivity to it. From late winter to early spring, the outdoor conditions are ideal for mold, especially in colder climates. Though it may seem worse during the winter, mold is present year-round. As winter comes, the rotting leaves that autumn has left behind and the moisture in the ground creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Most mold exposed within our homes actually comes from the outside—as we walk on the damp ground, we track mold spores into our homes. Therefore, as mold exposure increases outdoors during the winter months, it also increases inside. Depending on the moisture levels in your home, mold can be found in your bathroom or basement or other damp areas in your house, which means the higher the humidity the faster mold grows. Keep the humidity low and you can reduce some concerns about mold this winter.
Pet Allergies in the Winter
As the winter months approach, we are forced to keep our pets inside more often, except for the occasional walk. With your pet constantly in the house, your exposure to pet dander and other pet allergens increases in the winter. It’s not usually the pet’s fur that triggers the allergy, but rather your pet’s dander or dead skin that is shed that leads to serious allergic reactions. You may be wondering why you are still constantly sneezing and sniffling after you have left your home. It is because in our homes we collect pet dander on our clothes and transport it with us to work, school and other public areas.
If you are aware of your allergy to pet dander, you can always opt for a pet without fur. If you already own a pet or can’t live without a furry companion, there are easy ways to minimize the dander. Try bathing your dog or cat more often. Keep in mind, though, bathing your animal too often can cause your pet’s skin to dry out, resulting in increased production of dander. Keep your pets out of your bedroom. You spend numerous hours in your bedroom and pet dander attached to your bedding can easily irritate your allergies through the night. And, remember, even so-called “hypoallergenic dogs” have dander and saliva you can develop a sensitivity to.
Dust and Dust Mites Everywhere
Dust mites are the most common cause of indoor allergies in the winter. Found most commonly in your bedding and furniture or pretty much anywhere in your home, dust mites are impossible to get rid of. These microscopic bugs can cling to almost any surface, such as upholstered furniture, carpets, house dust, and even your clothing. When the waste and remains of dust mites become airborne or settle in house dust, it causes you to experience allergy symptoms.
Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of dust or dust mites; but fortunately, you can minimize the amount of dust in your home by using HEPA air purifiers. And although dust mites are impossible to eliminate, you can help control them this winter by keeping the humidity rather low while also using room air filters. Just like mold, dust mites thrive in high humidity and warm temperatures, so it is best to keep the humidity in your home less than fifty percent by investing in a humidifier that will reduce the dryness in the air. Washing your sheets, pillows, and bedding not only gets rid of unwanted pet dander but it helps minimize your bedding of dust mites. It’s worth repeating, dust and dust mites are present everywhere, but if you pay careful attention to minimizing dust and dust mites in your home this winter you can reduce your chances of triggering serious allergy flare-ups.
Trees and Pollen
Winter provides you an escape from most high pollen counts, but in certain areas, some species of trees such as Cedar, Elm and Pine can pollinate in the winter air. Keep up to date with the current pollen count in your area to make sure that you are taking proper precautions. Pollen season may be different depending on the weather and climate in your area.
Winter is the season of giving and with that comes fresh-cut Christmas trees. Pine trees may be beautiful and inviting of the Christmas spirit, but those lovely Christmas trees harbor mold that adds to your common allergy symptoms. Try an artificial Christmas tree. It can cut down on allergy symptoms caused by mold but can still possibly increase dust-causing symptoms if not properly dusted. Whether they are releasing pollen or harboring mold, trees play a big role in spreading and carrying some of your most common winter allergens.
Say goodbye to winter allergens. The combination of dry air, lack of air circulation and high humidity can create the perfect conditions to increase your exposure to common indoor allergens. Dander, dust, dust mites, and mold aren’t going anywhere, but you can do all that you can to lower your exposure to these allergy triggers this winter. Remember to wash your sheets and bedding once a week, use a dehumidifier to keep humidity under 50%, use an air filter since it can keep dust out of the air and don’t allow your pets in the bedroom. Now that you have everything you need to know, you can control and minimize your indoor allergies this winter.
If your current allergy treatments have been unsuccessful in relieving your symptoms or you are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We are an allergy wellness center, specializing only in natural treatments. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). AAT treatments are painless and non-invasive, involving no shots or needles, no drugs or herbal supplements, and no avoidance. We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit our website https://stlouisallergyrelief.com/ to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.
We also deliver community workshops as well as a free monthly informational workshop on the first Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm in our Chesterfield office. Our free monthly workshop provides the public with information on our unique approach to allergy treatments and includes an opportunity to meet with our patients for a question and answer session. If you are interested in attending one of our free monthly workshops, seating is limited so please call our office at 314-384-9304 to reserve your space.