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Mold, pet dander, and dust mites are the most common culprits of winter allergies. In most situations, the key is avoidance.
Keep Dust-mites away
Dust mites survive on the skin we shed. So if a dust-mite allergy is the problem, wash your bed sheets weekly in hot water (above 130 degrees) and invest in allergen-reducing mattress covers.
Mold loves moisture, so it grows especially well in damp rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. Turn on the exhaust fan when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors. Use a mold/mildew spray to clean moldy areas, including shower curtains, tiles, etc. and Wipe the sink and counter every day to remove puddles of water and moisture.
Get a dehumidifier
Dust mites and molds flourish in a humid environment. Keep your indoor humidity level between 30–40 percent with the help of a humidifier or dehumidifier, to help prevent the growth of mold and mites.
Clean Every Surface
Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure. Vacuum twice a week. Clean your carpets with a HEPA vacuum to decrease dust mites and pet allergen levels. Mopping floors is also effective. Scrub refrigerators, sinks, tubs, floors, and garbage cans regularly to keep build-up — and your allergy symptoms — to a minimum.
If pet dander gets you sneezing, ban pets from your bedroom, and keep the door closed. Pet dander can linger in the house for months, triggering symptoms even after the pets no longer live there.
Never Allow Pets On the Bed. What many people don't know, though, is that allergens around the house and in their bedroom often come from their pets. Pets can bring in mold, dander (little flakes off of their skin and coats), and pollen from outdoors.
Consider Using Slip Covers
Use washable slip covers and cushions, and wash in 130-degree hot water once a week.
Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. If you do have rugs, make sure they are washable.
Keep Indoor Air Clean
Keep windows closed to reduce pollen entering the house. Change filters in air conditioning units and vents frequently this time of year. Install high-efficiency furnace filters, which capture 30 times more allergens, and make sure your furnace fan is always on.When changing filters, place used filter in plastic garbage bag, then dispose outdoors to limit accidental “pollen spills” indoors.
Keep Pollen Under Control
To tame pollen, wash bedding every week in hot water. Wash your hair and shower before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in hair.
Avoid hanging clothes outdoors to dry
Wet laundry is a magnet for pollen.
Snuggling by the fireplace or fire pit may not be the best idea. The smoke from wood fires can irritate the nose and lungs in people with allergy. Be sure that when bringing in any firewood into the home that it's been cleaned and checked for mold.
Perform an indoor and outdoor survey of the house every month to look for visible mold and identify areas at high risk for mold formation, such as a pile of firewood close to the house or an area of the basement with a musty odor.
Check the Weather
Tree, grass and ragweed thrive during cool nights and warm days.
Information about your local pollen level is available on the Internet or in your local paper. If pollen counts are supposed to be particularly high on a given day, you can play it safe by staying inside. In general, pollen counts are highest on warm and breezy mornings and low on cool and rainy days.
Choose the Right Time of Day
According to many experts, the time of day you choose to spend time outside matters. Most pollens reach peak levels around noon or early afternoon.
Change Your Clothes and Shower After Spending Time Outdoors
During pollen season, your clothing and hair could be covered with pollen. So when you get home, it's not a bad idea to change your clothes and toss them in the laundry. You could also take a shower to rinse off any allergen left on your skin or in your hair.
Consider a Less Intense Exercise
Sometimes, opt for less intense activities. If the pollen count or pollution levels are high, skip your usual jog or bike ride and choose a less intense form of exercise.
Protect your eyes and lungs
To block pollen and other irritants from getting into your system during outdoor exercise, some people exercise with a mask or bandanna over their nose and mouth. Another trick is to wear goggles to protect your eyes from irritation from allergens.