We bid goodbye to fall in St. Louis as soon as the last piece of pumpkin pie was eaten, and most of us have retreated indoors to hibernate under blankets for the winter. Why then, you may be wondering, are you still dealing with the same allergy symptoms as you did in October?
Unfortunately, indoor allergies during winter months can be just as unpleasant as the ones outdoor in spring and fall. Not only can turning on the furnace spark indoor allergy symptoms, but spending more time inside increases your exposure to allergens in your home that are present all the time.
What Triggers Winter Allergies, and How Can I Reduce Them?
The furnace. While not in use, dust builds up on the components of your furnace. As the furnace kicks on it can blow all of that dust into your ducts and vents, and into the air you breathe. Consider having your ducts cleaned, and use a HEPA air filter that traps tiny particles that cause indoor allergies.
Dust mites. They’re always present in your home, especially in mattresses and bedding where you’re likely to lay around more often in winter. Wash sheets weekly in hot water to kill dust mites, and use hypoallergenic cases for mattresses and pillows.
Mold. It thrives in humid areas like basements, so as you bring holiday decorations out of storage, you may start to experience indoor allergy symptoms. Mold can also be present on real Christmas trees that you bring into the home. Clean your decorations thoroughly before setting them out, and either let your real tree dry out in the garage before bringing it in or consider purchasing an artificial tree.
Pets. You may be able to handle being around your pet in warmer months when you’re both spending time outside, but being around a furry friend indoors exposes you to dander and saliva for longer periods. Vacuum carpets often with a HEPA filter, and don’t let your pet sleep in your bedroom.
Humidifiers. Humidifiers used to combat dry air can grow mold and harbor dust mites. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning them to prevent this from happening.
Do I Have a Cold or Winter Allergies?
Allergy symptoms like coughing, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes are also present during winter colds, so you may assume you’ve just caught the most recent bug. But a cold doesn’t often last for more than 10 days, whereas winter allergies can last for weeks or months. And while colds and flus can be accompanied by fever and aches, allergies are usually not.
Is There a Treatment For Indoor Allergies?
You can try over the counter antihistamines and decongestants to help reduce your symptoms. If that doesn’t help after a couple of weeks, you should see an allergist who can determine what you’re allergic to and offer solutions. Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, may help by gradually exposing your body to the allergens that are causing irritation.
Sound Health Can Keep You More Comfortable This Winter
Don’t give up on being able to enjoy cozy days just because you’re dealing with allergy symptoms. We can create a plan that will boost your immunity to indoor allergens and allow you to live comfortably in your home this winter.
Call (314) 332-1377 to Schedule a Consultation with One of Sound Health’s ENT Specialists Today.