Indoor Allergies Can Increase During Winter Months
Posted by Jamie on Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Usually, the colder winter months provide allergy sufferers with welcome relief from the ills of ragweed and other allergens in the air during the Fall months. However, during winter, people tend to spend more time indoors. The increase in time spent indoors can lead to more exposure to allergens like dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke, gas fumes, and household sprays. All of these can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

In an article released yesterday on the Business Week web site, writer Jennifer Thomas talks about some of the steps that you can take to help minimize the runny noses and itchy eyes that confound allergy sufferers in the winter.

In Thomas’ post, Dr. Stefan Worgall, Chief of Pulmonology, Allergy and Immunology at the Komansky Center for Children's Health in New York offers some great tips for minimizing the chances of an allergic reaction or asthma flare-up during the colder winter months and the holiday season.

Here are a few of Dr. Worgalls’s recommendations:
  • Mold and dust mites thrive in humidity, so keep the indoor humidity level below 35 percent.
  • Replace your furnace filter every two to three months. Use high-efficiency filters which can remove up to 30 times more allergens.
  • You should vacuum floors and furniture frequently using a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  • Don’t keep many old books, stuffed animals, and knick-knacks which are places where dust mites collect.
  • You should consider using allergy covers for mattresses, box springs, and pillows.
  • The first frost kills outdoor mold, but try to prevent children from playing in areas that mold thrives in, such as dark, wooded areas and piles of leaves.
  • When using a humidifier, maintain it properly. Keep it clean and change the water often to avoid mold and bacteria growth.
  • Dust your holiday decorations, ornaments, and artificial tree.
For the full list of the recommendations from Dr. Worgall, check out the article on the Business Week web site.

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