Cold weather has you longing for spring, even if that does mean worsening allergies. In fact, you may already be suffering from allergies despite the lack of pollen in the air. Dust mites, pet dander, pest droppings and other household allergens can trigger the same symptoms as pollen and other environmental allergens. Stale indoor air can even worsen symptoms and cause other health issues.
If congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and other allergy symptoms have you constantly running to the drugstore, it’s worth investigating and treating the causes of your environmental allergies. Fatigue from your symptoms can slow you down and impact your daily routine. This is actually the time to tackle household chores with a vengeance, since a dust mite allergy or other reaction to indoor allergens can lead to cracked skin or nosebleeds. These seemingly benign symptoms can lead to more worrisome infections.
1. Control the Humidity of Your Home
If you use a humidifier, set it at 50 percent. Although you need some moisture in your home, dust mites flourish in environments with 60-plus percent humidity and temperatures ranging between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A warm, high-humidity atmosphere also promotes mold growth. A mold allergy produces symptoms similar to the kind you get from outdoor allergens. However, it can lead to asthma flare-ups, inflammation from fungal sinusitis, and infections from lung fungus. In rare cases, it can even cause an immune system disorder called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
2. Clean Sheets = Easy Breathing
Wash your sheets at least once weekly in 130 degree-plus water to make your bed less dust mite-friendly. Synthetic fabrics are a better option than wool or down fill, and dust mite-resistant covers are available for your mattress, pillows and box springs.
3. Keep Pet Dander to a Minimum
Even if you don’t have animals in your home, pet dander can trigger allergic symptoms. We carry dander, or tiny skin particles, on our clothes and items we bring into our homes. If you do have pets, keep them out of the bedrooms of allergic household members. Bathe animals weekly, and vacuum frequently using a sweeper with a HEPA filter. Clean the air with a HEPA air purifier, especially in the bedroom.
4. A Clean House Combats Allergies
A regular cleaning schedule is essential to combating most household allergens. Washing window treatments and rugs, cleaning floors and dusting furniture reduces dust-mite populations. Keep surfaces clear of clutter to help reduce the settling of dust in the first place — and to make your home less attractive to cockroaches and other pests. Place aquarium gravel over dirt in potted plants to prevent mold growth.
5. Let the Floors Go Bare to Cut Down on Dust
Wood and laminate options have taken over as the flooring of choice for many Americans. While carpet can be cozy, it also plays host to a number of allergens. If you don’t want to go with hard flooring in every room, try at least replacing the carpet in your bedroom for a better night’s sleep.
If you’ve tried our tips for removing household allergens but still suffer from allergy symptoms, help is available. Proper medical attention can eliminate annoying symptoms of a dust mite allergy or mold allergy and prevent them from developing into something more serious. Contact Asthma and Allergy Physicians of Rhode Island today, and start feeling like yourself again.