During the winter months, coughing and sneezing can hit at any time, but don’t assume you have a cold. It could be allergies. While colder temperatures can bring some relief by limiting mold and pollen in the atmosphere, more time indoors means more exposure to indoor allergens.
Dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke, gas fumes, and household sprays and chemicals can all trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Mold can continue to grow during colder weather, as it really only needs moisture and oxygen to thrive.
There are some things you can do to help relieve allergy or asthma symptoms during the winter. These tips can help:
• Keep humidity levels in your home under 35 percent to restrict the growth of mold and dust mites.
• If you use a humidifier, keep it clean and change the water frequently. You can also use an anti-mold agent in the water or as a spray for the humidifier.
• Use exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as often as possible.
• Replace your furnace filter every two to three months. Be sure to use high-efficiency filters in order to remove as many allergens as possible.
• Vacuum floors and furniture frequently. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. If you have a problem with dust mites, consider removing any dust traps from your home, including stuffed animals, clutter on shelves, old books, and decorative pillows and blankets.
• Use allergy covers on your mattresses. You can also cover your box springs and pillows. Wash bed linens and nightclothes in water above 130 degrees.