Allergy Asthma Technology Home Page

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Allergies

Winter allergies can be beaten if you know how

When summer is over and fall leads to a first frost, allergy sufferers may be inclined to think they are safe from allergy symptoms, but winter allergies can be just as difficult to manage.

That’s because winter allergies are often persistent and recurring rather than the result of pollen blooms or windy days.

The sources of winter allergies

The most difficult thing to determine is the difference between a winter allergy and other conditions such as the common cold. Common cold symptoms are often quite similar in causing sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and coughing.

One possible difference between the common cold and winter allergies is the presence of a deep soreness or dryness in the throat, which is much more likely to be associated with the rhinovirus that causes common colds. Colds also tend to proceed in a pattern that begins with muscle achiness leading to a cycle of symptoms:

Typical Pattern of Cold symptoms:

1.      2-3 days of sore throat
2.      3-6 days of runny nose
3.      4-7 days of congestion and coughing
4.      3-5 days of clearing symptoms

That means colds generally last anywhere from 10-21 days. Bronchitis can extend the length of a cold and warrant a trip to the doctor.

How to determine possible presence of winter allergies

By contrast with the common cold, winter allergies may persist with similar or unchanging symptoms for days and weeks at a time. That is because the source of your winter allergies is ever-present in the atmosphere within your house or other indoor environment.

Some common sources of winter allergies include:

Household mold: While it perhaps seems like mold should not be forming during the cold winter months, moisture can collect in attic spaces and crawl spaces as a result of condensation. Then mold forms and spores can be released into your household atmosphere to be breathed in, leading to winter allergies.

Dust mites: These tiny creatures live in your bedding and mattresses, feeding on flecks of human skin and other “foods.” When dust mites die off or defecate, they produce tiny airborne particles that can cause allergies in people sensitive to these irritants.

Animals: Pets also give off substances that can lead to allergies. Pet “dander” (which is particles shed from animal skin) pet saliva and urine can all set off winter allergies.

What to do to prevent winter allergies?

Fight the mold
Of course you want to check your home for possible risks of mold caused by condensation. Mold spots be identified by dark patches on the ceiling or black substances near baseboards (especially in basements) where moisture collects and mold deposits can build up.

To combat mold allergies, the best strategy is always direct treatment of the problem wherever it can be found, using an anti-allergen spray that is safe for people, pets and the environment. A mold or mildew stain remover may be necessary for larger mold deposits.

A mold-resistant shower curtain keeps mold from growing in-between baths or showers.

Combatting the effects of mold spores may require air-cleaning systems that filter the air, prevent mold growth and even kills HFN flu virus and SARS. Humidity and temperature control monitors are also key in preventing and maintaining a mold-free environment.

Dust mite prevention

The best way to deal with dust mites is to keep them from making a home in your bed. One of the most direct methods of dust mite prevention is using mite free comforters to keep dust mites from penetrating your bedding. Dust mite covers, allergy bedding and allergy pillows used in combination are often necessary to prevent dust mites from setting up shop in your bedding or comforters.

Allergies from your pets

You love your pet, but if your pet is making you sick from winter allergies, it is time to take measures to combat the problem with hypo-allergenic treatments that make your home safe to live in. All natural cat dander wipes and all natural dog dander wipes and allergy prevention shampoos are all good ways to decrease the threat of allergies from you pets.

The winter months need not be months of suffering from winter allergies. Do your simple research and cut down the factors that cause winter allergies and you can begin to see your home as a refuge—not the cause—from the worries in the world.

1 comment:

  1. What about the forced-air duct system as a source of allergens? Must of us know that dust and dirt accumulate over time within the duct system; otherwise, there would be no occupation call 'duct cleaners'. But few recognize that duct leakage can be a significant contributor. Consider that if the returns -- the ducts that draw air from rooms in the house and return it to the furnace -- leak, then air and airborne materials in spaces through which these ducts travel -- dead spaces between walls and floors, attics and basements -- gets sucked into the system and redistributed throughout the house. Ducts can be effectively sealed by a process that was invented in the 1990s (but got very little public attention) where a specialized aerosol is injected into a pressurized duct system; as it escapes through the cracks and holes in the system, it deposits and accumulates, eventually sealing the system.