For the umpteenth time this winter, you woke up with an itchy throat and a runny nose. You’ve been taking cold medicine, but it never seems to work. You’ve gone to the doctor, and they said you aren’t really sick. What else could it be? Allergies. That’s right, the stuff that’s plagued you long before you moved to Mount Pleasant, Texas. Even though you can’t see pollen floating around, you still have allergens to worry about, especially if you’re susceptible to winter allergies and asthma.
Homeowners often experience allergic reactions during the winter because they spend far more time indoors. To get a handle on your winter allergies, learn the sources of your discomfort and how you can be rid of them once and for all. Here are three causes of winter allergies and how to successfully combat them:
If you have a dog or cat and aren’t actively working to keep their dander from spreading, that can easily be one cause of your allergies. When pets groom themselves, they spread a protein over their fur that most people are allergic to. The skin flakes soaked in that protein-rich saliva then spread wherever your pet walks, sits or sleeps. You’re also likely exposed to that protein every time your pet licks you.
But what do you do? You can’t get rid of them; that would be like kicking out one of your kids. Don’t worry, you may only have to adjust some of your habits. Clean your pets often and clean the areas they frequent. Start keeping your pet out of certain areas of your home, like your bedroom. Finally, as difficult as it might be, you may have to keep your pet from licking you.
We’re lucky that we rarely have to deal with suffocating humidity, especially compared to other places in the country. However, living in Texas doesn’t mean that mold can’t be a problem, especially if you’re vulnerable to allergies.
Mold grows in the warm, damp corners of your home, like your bathroom. Sometimes mold also grows around windows where cold and heat meet, causing condensation. Mold can be difficult to see, but start by looking around your windows and in the corners of your bathroom, especially under the sinks and around the bathtub.
Prevent mold growth by keeping your bathroom and other wet areas ventilated. Turn on your bathroom fan while you shower or, if you feel like that’s not enough, keep the door open. If you find a patch of mold, use a bleach solution to get rid of it.
While high humidity can certainly cause health issues, regulated humidity actually benefits your indoor air quality. For instance, a healthy amount of moisture in the air weighs dust particles down so they can’t hitch a ride on your airflow.
In the winter, however, humidity levels fall. That’s when dust is more likely to become a problem, as are the dust mites that thrive in the low-humidity environment. Dust mites themselves aren’t especially harmful, but their microscopic remains and droppings can become airborne and cause allergic reactions.
You can start getting rid of dust mites by cleaning areas where dust tends to collect. Running a dust cloth over your furniture isn’t going to do the trick, though. Dust mites thrive in mattresses and bedding, which doesn’t see cleaning as often as it should. Clean your sheets regularly and vacuum off your mattress. You should also consider giving some attention to other parts of your home that you don’t clean regularly, such as drapes and carpet.
Don’t get complacent with fighting allergies just because you don’t have to worry about pollen. Indoor air pollution is a real danger, especially when cool weather keeps you and your loved ones indoors. Target allergens at their source, and you’ll enjoy a healthy, relaxing winter free of stuffy noses and sore throats. For a professional hand with improving your indoor air quality, call Wood Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Inc. at 903-285-6550.
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