While most people think of spring and summer as the main allergy seasons, many allergens are also present during the winter, especially in Florida. In the colder winter weather, heaters can spread allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and cockroach debris, leading to indoor winter allergies. So in the winter, homes may circulate allergens more than at warmer times of the year.
Winter allergies can cause symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes, throat, or nose, among other symptoms. These symptoms range in severity from person to person, but can be quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, by preparing your home before the onset of winter, you can minimize the effects of indoor allergens.
How to Prepare for Indoor Allergies
1. Beware of Carpeting.
Wall-to-wall carpeting can trap pet dander and dust mites. When moisture is held in your carpeting, it creates an optimal environment for mold growth, which may also exacerbate indoor allergies.
So if you have allergies to dust mites, animal dander, or molds, you can consider removing carpeting in your house if financially feasible. For those who opt to keep wall-to-wall carpeting, frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning can help reduce the accumulation of dust mites, pet dander, and mold. If you have hardwood floors, be sure to wash all rugs and mats frequently to prevent the buildup of allergens.
2. Switch Your HVAC Air Filters.
Changing out the air filters in your HVAC system will improve the air quality in your home. Allergens can accumulate in the filter; and when it needs to be changed, those allergens will circulate throughout your home. To ensure that your HVAC system can continue to trap allergens and function properly, regularly switch out the air filters not only in the winter, but all year long.
3. Launder Bed Linens Frequently.
Washing your bedding frequently in hot water will kill dust mites and remove other allergens. Given that you spend a large portion of your time in bed, it’s important to keep it clean and allergen-free. Taking a shower and washing your hair before getting in bed can also help reduce the allergens that you bring into bed with you. For further allergen protection in bed, consider purchasing an allergenic case for your pillows and mattress for dust mite protection.
4. Consider an Air Purifier.
Air purifiers can help filter allergens circulating in the air of your home. However, a lot of factors determine how effective these devices are. Some allergens don’t remain airborne for long making them difficult to filter. Also, an air purifier may not be able to move all the air in larger rooms or homes. High quality clinical studies have shown mixed results for the effectiveness of air purifiers, although those with HEPA filters may help some.
For more help with indoor winter allergies, contact Allergy Tampa today.