How to Prevent Winter Allergies

10 - allergiesThe winter provides a welcome respite for people who suffer from pollen allergies. Unfortunately, winter can be especially difficult for those who suffer from indoor allergies such as mold and dust mites.
Indoor heating units can send mold spores, dust and insect parts into the air, triggering allergic responses in some people. At the same time, because cold weather forces us to stay inside for longer periods, we’re also exposed to a variety of common indoor irritants, including:

  • Animals: Pet dander, urine and saliva can all prompt allergic responses.
  • Mold: A fungus that thrives in humid, damp areas such as bathrooms and basements, mold can trigger unpleasant allergic reactions when spores get into the air.
  • Dust mites: These microscopic bugs leave dropping that can spread through the air and cause allergic responses.

What Are the Symptoms?
Winter allergies can manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Dark circles beneath the eyes

Preventing Winter Allergies
There are several steps you can take to reduce the impact of winter allergies:

  • Throw out carpeting, wallpaper or shower curtains that play host to mold.
  • Wash sinks and showers with a solution of water and 5 percent bleach.
  • Clean dust from the air using a HEPA air filter.
  • Wash bedding at least once per week using hot water.
  • Use hypoallergenic comforters, pillows and mattresses.
  • Buy an artificial tree for the holidays.
  • Bring your own pillow when traveling.
  • Get an allergy shot or take your allergy medication if you plan to be near cats or dogs.

In addition to allergy shots, you can use antihistamines to reduce itching, sniffling and sneezing. You can also use decongestants to clear mucus and relieve swelling and congestion.

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