Reduce indoor allergens that may cause respiratory issues and other problems.
During the colder months of the year, it may feel nice to snuggle up to the heating system in your home, but those with respiratory issues or indoor allergens may find it difficult. The indoor air quality may become increasingly contaminated as the winter ends and spring begins, as your heating system keeps you warm and the dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores it produces become more active. It may still be too cold to open the windows in late winter and early spring to remove the stale air, so pay attention to possible allergy and respiratory triggers as you wait for the weather to improve.
According to Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, an otolaryngology professor at Harvard Medical School, most of the things that cause problems are odorless. Because there are no warning signs aside from the symptoms these allergens might cause (such as respiratory problems, fatigue, sleepiness, and digestive issues), you may not realize there is a problem. Allergens stay trapped inside in the winter months, worsening indoor air quality. There is no flow of fresh air from the outside, so in the winter months, allergy symptoms are more prevalent.
Improving Air Quality
Avoiding asthma outbreaks and allergy symptoms during the colder months can be achieved by improving indoor air quality. You can reduce the number of allergens inside your home by making some simple changes. Here are some strategies you can use to improve air quality inside your home and hopefully improve your allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate all of the allergens.
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According to Dr. BuSaba, good indoor hygiene can significantly reduce dust and animal dander, therefore keeping your house clean is a healthier choice. Your cleaning efforts should focus on reducing the accumulation of pet dander, mold, and dust.
Follow these guidelines:
Allergy sufferers should vacuum their carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. You may also cut down on allergens in your home by opting for hard-surface flooring rather than wall-to-wall carpeting. Regularly clean bedding, drapes, and other items that are prone to attracting allergens, particularly if you own pets. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends washing clothes in water that is at least 130°F. Dust mite–proof covers should be used on pillows, mattresses, and box springs whenever possible. Clutter is another problem, as it traps and holds dust that triggers reactions.
Mold can flourish in indoor plants, so keep the vegetation outdoors, advises Dr. BuSaba. Allergens can be a problem indoors, so if indoor allergens are a problem, you should avoid them.
If you're allergic to indoor allergens and can't control their source, such as a family pet, you may wish to purchase an air purifier, says Dr. BuSaba. An ionic purifier in the most popular areas of the home, in particular, may collect some of the contaminants that may cause your symptoms. You may not be able to eliminate all of these irritants, but you can lower them, which may assist.
Using a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as basements, can help prevent mold from growing. Bathrooms are another potential source of mold, and scrubbing off any visible mold that accumulates in the shower, on fixtures, or on the walls is important. Allow fresh air to flow into the house, even during the cold months. In the kitchen, use a fan to expel cooking odors to remove potential air contaminants.
Even in the winter months, make sure you open a window up to exchange stale air for fresh air. Some homeowners may believe that opening a window will increase their heating and or cooling costs. The increase in the cost of opening a window once in a while is minimal. Most of the energy used in heating and or cooling is bringing the building materials inside the structure up to those temperatures. Exchanging the air temporarily won't lead to significant energy costs by itself.
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