The winter season often brings different allergens and environmental triggers to the forefront compared to the blooming seasons. Greater time spent indoors means more exposure to dust mites and pet dander. Cold, dry air can be a trigger for respiratory and skin conditions. Here are some tips to help you during this time of year:
- Dust mite covers for mattresses and pillows can reduce dust mite exposure.
- Room air HEPA filters and regular pet washing can reduce pet dander and other airborne irritants.
- Wash bedding in hot water once weekly to reduce dust mite exposure.
- Although humidity greater than 50% can lead to more dust mite and mold growth, excessively low humidity in the winter can be problematic as well. Dry air leads to dry skin and dry skin means “itchy skin” which often leads to worsening eczema. Consider humidifying the air in the winter months. This can also improve nasal dryness and the propensity for winter nose bleeds. (Remember to keep that humidifier clean!)
- Don’t leave inhalers or epinephrine injectors in the car where they can freeze. Freezing can reduce their effectiveness.
- Any indoor particulate matter can increase asthma symptoms. Watch for common culprits including wood stoves and fireplaces. Dust is a common irritant when Christmas décor and winter clothing are brought out of storage for the season.
- Remember to change your HVAC filters regularly.
- Get a head start on Spring. Allergy shots often take several weeks to reach effective an effective dose. Now is the time to get started if last year’s pollen seasons were severe.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.