I've got to pick myself up, Dust myself off, And start all over again. ~ Peter Tosh
When the snows fall and the winds howl, we wrap up inside our snuggly blankets, light a fire and read a good book. During the colder season, though, not a lot of fresh air is circulating throughout our homes as it does in the summertime. Wintertime sees a lot more activities from dust mites, mold spores and pet dander due to the lack of circulation, so winter allergies are more common than you might think.
Dust Mites, Pet Dander, and Mold
Household dust is where dust mites live and breed. These tiny critters can be found in areas of the house where human skin cells collect and where it is more humid. Pets also shed skin cells as we do and their dander can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms.
Mold spores also love moist, humid and dark spots inside the house but the cold outside will kill any that happen to be out there. If you’re using a humidifier, this could be a great way mold can infect your home and affect your health.
How to Avoid Winter Allergies
Watch the humidity level in your home. Try to keep it under 50%. If you’re using a humidified, be judicious and only use it when absolutely necessary. You can also employ the use of a de-humidifier to take excess moisture out of places that tend to be damp, like a basement.
Hard-surface flooring has fewer allergens trapped in it than does carpeting, rugs, or small throw rugs. You can keep wood or linoleum or tile floors free of dust more easily than you can carpeting. At a minimum, have your carpeting shampooed and dried before winter sets in.
Wash all blankets and quilts prior to winter. Then, zip them and your mattresses up in allergy-proof covers. There are allergy-free sheets and pillow cases that you can utilize in the wintertime that will eliminate dust mites, pollen and dander from affecting you.
Change your sheets and pillow cases weekly. Launder them in very hot water and use high heat to kill off pollutants weekly.
If you are the one who is allergic, hire someone else to do your cleaning for you and ask them to use a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particle air) filter. This type of vacuum does a more thorough job with smaller particles.
Pets can be a sensitive issue. If the winter allergies are due to pet dander, consider keeping the pet away from where the family lives and sleeps, while still keeping the pet comfortable and feeling loved. While it’s been shown that owning a pet can sometimes prevent allergies in children, but if you or your child already is sensitive, bathe the cat or dog at least once a week, and wipe the pet down daily with a dampened hand towel. Set up a HEPA filter on a dresses in the child’s bedroom and be sure the home is otherwise cleaned meticulously.
Cockroaches also carry allergens, and all attempts to eliminate them from the home should be pursued. Mold can be wiped down with a mild bleach solution.
That’s a lot of work to be sure that the winter allergy causes are removed from the home before the windows and doors get closed for the winter. It surely does make for a clean home before the turkey gobbles and before Santa slides down that chimney!