With fall upon us and leaves on the ground, we are safe from allergies until next spring, right?
With fall upon us and all the leaves on the ground, that means that we are safe from allergies until next spring, right? The answer is both yes and no. The harsh winter weather keeps us locked in our homes, which exposes us to a myriad of indoor allergens. Let this article serve as a guide for you to learn ways to minimize indoor allergic reactions in the winter.
What are indoor allergens?
Before getting into the ways to prevent them, it is important to know what kind of allergens you may experience. Believe it or not, there are many types of indoor allergens that can wreak havoc on your respiratory tract. From dog hair and dander to dust in the vents, even the healthiest of homeowners can fall victim to the following symptoms:
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy, red eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Having a tight feeling in the chest
Since freezing temperatures make it impossible to open windows and let fresh air in, you need to be proactive when it comes to keeping your indoor air as fresh as possible.
Change your furnace filters
Summer is not the only time to worry about AC performance. When the temperatures drop below freezing, everyone turns up the heat. However, what you may not know is the amount of dirt, dust, and dander that lurks within your air ducts. When the heat blows, so do these allergens, which can quickly turn comfort into discomfort. Use only recommended high-efficiency filters to reduce the number of harmful allergens and promote good indoor air quality inside your home.
Furthermore, be sure to change your furnace filter every 90 days to keep your air as fresh as possible. If you start to notice a musty, stale smell when you walk inside, you’ve waited too long to change your filter.
Swap out bedding
Probably the most common household allergen is dust mites. They are found in furniture like couches, pillows, mattresses, and carpets. Vacuum and clean all around the areas with the most dust, even between the mattress and box spring. In addition, consider covering up your pillows with plastic or allergen-proof covers, which will help eliminate dust mites. Finally, make sure to wash your sheets in hot water weekly to kill any lingering dust mites. Not only does this improve indoor air quality, but it also reduces allergic reactions, particularly in asthma sufferers.
Keep an eye on the humidity levels
Dropping temperatures and low humidity levels go hand in hand. Keep the right level of moisture in your home by investing in a Venta Airwasher. Keep in mind that if the humidity level is too high, it creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Currently, the CDC encourages homeowners to keep their humidity below 50 percent to prevent mold growth.
Just like us, pets spend more time indoors when it’s cold outside. Common allergens from pets come from their fur and saliva, so keeping your house clean is crucial. Research shows that bathing your pet once a week will significantly lower the amount of dander. Washing your hands is also a good way to prevent the symptoms from getting any worse. In addition, pet dander can clog your HVAC unit, which will hinder AC performance.
With these tips in mind, you’re now ready to face the cold, winter season allergy-free.