Cold Weather Allergies

January 22, 2016

I know what you are thinking…Dr.McMahon, it’s -6 degrees…I’m not suffering from allergies while it’s this cold!! While it’s true you aren’t suffering from outdoor allergies, inside your home is filled with allergy triggers. Spending time indoors during the frigid Minnesota winters means cozying up with indoor offenders such as mold, pet dander and dust mites!

 

That’s right, itchy/watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing can be just as prevalent in the winter. One of the most important steps to treating winter allergies is identifying your allergy triggers — and then avoiding them or take preventative measures against them. The most accurate way to find out what it causing you discomfort is to have allergy testing done by an allergist.

 

In the meantime, here are 10 winter allergy tips that may help make the winter months more bearable.

 

  1. Wash your sheets weekly in hot water to get rid of dust mites. (Temp should be above 130 degrees F).

  2. Invest in dust mite pillow and mattress covers.

  3. Clean and vacuum (with a HEPA vacuum) your house regularly. If your allergies are severe and you have carpet in your bedroom, you may want to think about switching to hard wood floors.

  4. Scrub mold out of sinks, tubs, garbage cans, window sills and fridges (including drip pans) regularly.

  5. If you have a wood burning fireplace, you may want to rethink using it when you’re having a bad allergy day. Smoke from the wood fires can irritate your nose and especially the lungs in people with allergies and/or asthma.

  6. Ban pets from your bedroom and keep the door closed. Pet dander can linger in the house for months.

  7. Wash your hands frequently, especially after playing with the family pet to reduce exposure to pet allergens.

  8. Install high-efficiency furnace filters and make sure the furnace fan is always running.

  9.  Turn on the exhaust fan when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors.

  10.  If you have a humidifier, try to keep the humidity below 60% as dust mites thrive in humidity above this level.

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