Beating Winter Allergies

By Heather Legg

Though winter is a nice time for pollen allergy sufferers, now we have to deal with everything inside – dust, pet dander, mold, dry air…

So what is the best way to deal with all of the inside allergens? We can’t escape outside if the weather is not permitting, and it is just the truth, people are inside much more in the winter. Here are a few tips to keeping allergies and asthma in check during the winter months:

• Stay hydrated from the inside and out. Drink a lot of water, just as much as in summer heat  because the dry air and heat from our homes depletes us of moisture. Use good moisturizers and creams on skin and don’t spend too much time in a hot shower or bath.
• If you can, use a fan in the bathroom while bathing to inhibit mold growth. Also if you are using a humidifier, don’t get your humidity too high (around 50% is good) or the chances of mold and dust mites is higher. Instead of plastic shower curtains, look for organic cotton ones which prohibit mold growth. If you have plastic, use a bleach/water solution to control the mold.
• A HEPA filter will help control dust and bugs from the air.
• Dust regularly. Maybe because we are in our homes more, or for whatever reason, I’ve noticed my house being much more dusty. Keep it in check.
• The same goes for pet hair and dander. My dog is shedding like crazy – probably due to winter hair combined with a heated house and I am constantly sweeping and scooping up dog hair. If it is a problem, do your best to maintain it. You may want to consider keeping the pets out of bedrooms to prevent their hair and dander from accumulating where you spend a good deal of your time. Bathe the pet once a week if you can. I need to get my dog a bath and I’m considering even a shave though it is winter (she spends most of her time indoors).
• Keep the outside of your home maintained as well. If wet leaves or dirt is accumulating  around the outside of your home, mold can grow and get in the house. Keep it clean.
• Use a neti pot or nasal irrigator to help with congestion, and you may need to even moisturize the inside of your nose with Vaseline if it is getting and staying dry.

It seems we are always battling allergies no matter the season. However, a little maintenance goes a long way to feeling good and staying ahead of the allergy game.

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