While spring and fall may cause the most allergies due to pollen, the summer and winter seasons come with their own sets of allergy triggers. Many winter allergy symptoms have to do with a lack of moisture, either in the air of the home or in the body itself.
Following is a winter allergy solution guide that shows what you can use to humidify and moisturize, relieving the symptoms of dry air, dry nasal passages, and dry skin.
Humidify and Moisturize with a Humidifier
Humidification is probably the most important winter-specific environmental control measure allergy sufferers can implement to stave off winter allergies. Humidification addresses all three issues mentioned above (dry air, skin, and nasal passages).
Forced-air heating systems, like the kind found in most American homes, dry out indoor air during the cooler fall and winter months. Dry air leads to irritated skin, which can exacerbate eczema. Dry air also irritates nasal passages, which reduces your body's ability to trap and fight bacteria and viruses, ultimately leading to sinus infections. Very dry indoor air can also allow allergen particles that would normally settle out of the air to remain airborne longer, increasing the chances that you inhale them. By returning moisture to the air, humidifiers combat this dryness and help to alleviate the allergy and sinus trouble associated with dry air.
Not only do humidifiers help protect against winter allergies, but they also help the air in your home feel warmer during frigid months. Moist air retains heat longer allowing increasing your comfort and helping to reduce heating costs.
Furthermore, humidifiers may be used for natural cold and flu relief all year long. The moisture eases coughs, dry throats, and scratchy noses, especially during nighttime.
Nasal Irrigation Eases Sinus Symptoms
While humidifiers can go a long way in making sure nasal and respiratory passages don't get dry and irritated from dry indoor air, people who cope with allergies, particularly those prone to sinus infections, should pay particular attention to moisturizing their nasal passages with products like the SinuPulse Elite Irrigation System, the SinuAir Nasal Wash System, or simple neti pots like the NeilMed NasaFlo Kit.
Nasal irrigation not only moisturizes sensitive nasal passages, it also flushes allergens out of the nose, the primary avenue that most allergens use to enter our bodies and trigger an allergic response. Rinsing dust mite allergen, pollen, pet dander, and other tiny particulates that we inhale is quite effective in minimizing allergy symptoms.
Furthermore, just as humidifiers are useful when any member of the family, allergic or not, has a cold or the flu, nasal irrigation products are a helpful addition to any family's medicine cabinet. Using saline solutions to irrigate nasal passages flushes out mucus, thereby easing congestion, sinus pressure, and runny noses. It's a safe, simple way to relief symptoms without the use of medication.
Moisturizing Soothes Dry Skin, Helps Prevent Eczema Flare Ups
The most simple, natural remedy for mild to moderate eczema is prevention through moisturizing. However, slathering on any old lotion at any time won't necessarily provide relief. Those with eczema must take care when they moisturize and with what.
The basic concept of effective moisturizing involves locking moisture in. Hence, moisturizing when the skin is damp from hand-washing or a shower or bath will make the greatest difference in terms of keeping skin supple and elastic, the hallmarks of well-moisturized skin.
Secondly, lotions used for moisturizing should be as natural as possible. Chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and fragrances found in many lotions or moisturizing products can actually cause skin more harm than good, and irritating sensitive, eczema-prone skin is never a good idea.
Choose products specially formulated for sensitive skin, such as Vanicream Skin Cream or Lite Lotion for routine moisturizing, Vanicream Vaniply Ointment for particularly sensitive skin, or Vanicream Robathol Bath Oil for use in the shower or bath itself.
Last but not least, when you think of moisturizing, don't think of it simply as something that's done from the outside, in. The reality is that drinking plenty of water can go a long ways towards keeping your body hydrated and skin feeling better. So don't skip the water for hot coco this season. Taking these steps to humidify your home and moisturize your nasal passages and skin this winter will help prevent allergy flare ups, keeping you breathing better all season long.