While outdoor pollen allergies decrease in the winter, indoor allergies tend to spike as you spend more time inside with the windows and doors shut tight. If you suspect you have winter allergies, learn more about them here so you can find relief.
Causes of Indoor Winter Allergies
A few different allergens can trigger winter allergies. These include:
- Mold: Mold can thrive in cooped-up buildings, resulting in severe allergy symptoms for some people in the winter. Spores lie dormant until they find a suitably moist, dark place to start growing. Basements, bathrooms, and around windows are common areas for mold to grow, as well as attics and behind wall cavities where it may remain undetected for months or even years. The lack of airflow and the potential overuse of humidifiers in the winter can cause mold to run rampant.
- Dust mites: These microscopic pests live in mattresses, bedding, carpet, upholstery, and curtains, feeding primarily on dead skin cells. Their droppings and body fragments can trigger an allergic reaction if they become airborne.
- Animal dander: If dogs or cats make you sneeze, it’s not because of their fur, but rather due to a protein in the animal’s dander, saliva, and urine.
Symptoms of Winter Allergies
The most common symptoms of winter allergies include:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Dark circles under the eyes
Since winter is cold and flu season, it’s easy to mistake allergies for these illnesses. If your symptoms last for weeks or months, you are most likely experiencing allergies. However, if the above symptoms are accompanied by a fever or aches and pains, you probably have a cold or the flu.
Treating Winter Allergies
When you’re struggling with winter allergy symptoms, you want to find relief as fast as possible. Here’s how:
- Take antihistamines to reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching.
- Take decongestants to clear up congestion and nasal swelling.
- Consider immunotherapy in the form of shots or under-the-tongue tablets. These help your body build immunity to the things you’re allergic to so your symptoms aren’t as severe.
Preventing Winter Allergies
The best way to keep your allergies at bay is to avoid exposure to them. Try these techniques:
- Replace moldy shower curtains, carpet, and wallpaper.
- Set your whole-house humidifier no higher than 50 percent.
- Upgrade your furnace air filter to one with a higher MERV rating.
- Use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter.
- Wash your bedding weekly in hot water.
- Encase your mattresses, pillows, and comforters in allergy-proof covers.
- Keep the family pet out of your bedroom, and bathe the animal once a week.
If you run across a mold infestation in your house, prevention may not be enough. To eliminate your symptoms and protect your family’s health, you may need mold remediation. DKI Services offers mold removal across the US. Contact us at 877-533-0210 to learn more or to schedule services.