Most of us don’t associate the cold months with allergies. Even though you’re not facing pollen problems in December, indoor allergens can still pose a problem. Dealing with winter allergy symptoms like the sniffling, sneezing and wheezing, can be a drag. From cats, dogs, dust mites, cockroach droppings and mold, allergies can affect New Jersey residents into and through even the coldest months of the year.
Winter Allergy Symptoms Magnify with Indoor Heat
One of the biggest problems with winter allergies is that residents are cranking up the heat which makes the indoor air even drier. That dry air leads to cracked skin, irritated, inflamed nasal passages and nosebleeds…all of which can increase infection risk and irritate winter allergy symptoms.
To avoid this, maintain moderate humidity levels between 35-50%. You can utilize a humidifier to prevent dry air, but be careful not to overuse it. Dust mites love temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit and in humidity levels over 60%. Mold also thrives in high humid environments.
Your safest best? Stay below 50% humidity levels.
Here are a few more tips to stay comfortable the next few months.
Minimize Indoor Winter Allergy Exposure:
- Use permanent HEPA type filters in your heating system. Designed to remove over 90 percent of particulate matter, they’re much more efficient than disposable filter. It’s still important, however, to remember to clean them monthly.
- Dust frequently with a damp cloth and vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (it’s best to vacuum after dusting). A clean home is less likely to harbor allergens and preserve the quality of your indoor air.
- Wash all bedding in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) once a week to kill dust mites. Invest in hypoallergenic cases for pillows and mattresses as well.
- Bathe Fido once a week (but no more). Frequent bathing can dry out a pet’s skin and coat increasing the chances of dander in the home.
- Be aware that live Christmas trees can also cause respiratory issues for those who have a tough time dealing with the strong pine scent. In addition, live trees are also known to carry microscopic mold spores that can exacerbate winter allergy symptoms, including sneezing, watery eyes and itchy nose. This year, opt for a faux tree instead.
- Pay attention to your bathroom. If you have wallpaper, beware that mold could be growing underneath if there’s too much moisture in the room. Consider removing the wallpaper and replace with paint instead. In addition, wash (or replace) shower curtains monthly to prevent mold growth.
- For asthma sufferers, it might be wise to reconsider your wood-burning fireplace since wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals as cigarette smoke, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hazardous metals, and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, dioxin, benzene, and toluene. Inhaling wood smoke may be just as dangerous as inhaling tobacco smoke, in fact. An EPA study showed that breathing wood smoke particles during high pollution days can be equivalent to smoking 4 to 16 cigarettes.
- Replace your carpet and invest in hardwood floors with throw rugs. Wall to wall carpet can be full of allergens, so when your budget allows, switch to hardwood, tile or laminate flooring.
Prevent Winter Allergy Symptoms with Heating System Tune-Ups
Finally, schedule annual heating system tune-up for cleaning and maintenance to eliminate dust and other particulates that may accumulate in your furnace and air ducts. The technicians at Point Bay Fuel have been providing expert service throughout Ocean County since 1906 and are here to help.
Call us at 732-349-5059 to learn more.