Take Steps to Avoid Winter's Indoor Allergies12/30/10
THURSDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Winter does have its
pluses for people who suffer from allergies: at least they're less
likely to get hay fever.
But folks tend to spend more time indoors during the winter, and
living inside can trigger other allergy and asthma problems,
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
offers tips for keeping yourself sniffle-free if you're cooped up
- Keep indoor humidity below 55 percent. A humidifier can reduce
winter dryness, but if you overdo it, too much moisture can
exacerbate dust mites, so consider keeping the humidifier or
vaporizer turned off.
- Check your furnace to make sure it has a high-efficiency
furnace filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Changing the filter
every three months will help keep out dust and other
- Take special care to keep allergens out of your bedroom. "Keep
pets and their dander out, and encase mattresses and pillows with
dust mite-proof covers," allergist Dr. Myron Zitt, past president
of ACAAI, said in a news release from the organization. "Limit
curtains -- use blinds that can be washed instead."
- Step up your housekeeping efforts. Wash bedding and stuffed
animals in hot water every two weeks, and use a vacuum with a HEPA
filter. When dusting, allergy sufferers are urged to wear a
NIOSH-rated N95 mask.
- Use a fan or open a window in the bathroom and kitchen when
moisture builds up to reduce mold growth.
- If your garage is attached to the house, beware of noxious
odors or fumes that can trigger asthma. Move insecticides and
containers of gasoline and other irritants to a shed.
- Keep your decor free of dust-collectors. Books and knick-knacks
should be boxed. Limit how many indoor plants you keep and consider
investing in furniture with leather or other nonporous surfaces
because they're easier to clean.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.