|As America gets into the throes of winter weather, people are spending more and more time indoors. Allergy sufferers may think that they are in the clear for the rest of the year, since pollen and other outdoor allergens are not as common in the cold weather months as they are in the spring and summer, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are actually a few different allergens in the home that can cause a flare up. Here are a few things to watch out for this winter, via the Huffington Post.
Christmas trees are a holiday season decorating staple, but they can also harbor a number of different allergens, including mold and other spores. If possible, a Christmas tree should be rinsed in water and allowed to dry before being brought into the home. An artificial tree is also a good alternative option.
Firewood and Smoke
Many people use firewood or stoves to heat their homes in the wintertime, and the wood itself as well as the smoke fires produce can both irritate allergies. It’s important to make sure that wood that is brought into the home does not have any mold on it, and that smoke is able to exit through a clean and open chimney.
Since homes usually don’t get a healthy flow of fresh air through them in the winter time and wet weather can create dampness in the home, it’s important to check for mold. Clean it with bleach or detergent if it’s present, and ensure that the area dries completely.
People aren’t the only ones who spend more time indoors during the winter — pets do too. Animal dander is a common allergen and can increase in the winter when pets spend more time indoors. Bathing pets weekly and keeping them out of sleeping areas like bedrooms can help allergy sufferers.
Dust and Dust Mites
Another common cause of allergy flare ups is dust mites, 2,000 of which can live in a single ounce of carpet dust. Additionally, a few pounds of dirt can accumulate in and under the average carpet, which can irritate allergies. A thorough carpet cleaning can help remove the dust, mites, and dirt deep in carpeting.
Allergy sufferers should essentially ensure that their homes are clean and that anything coming into it — especially wood and animals — is clean and mold-free as well.