Tips for Warding Off Winter Allergies11/23/12
FRIDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Winter months can be rough
for people who are allergic to mold spores and dust mites, and
holiday decorations may contribute to the problem.
"During the winter, families spend more time indoors, exposing allergic individuals to allergens and irritants like dust mites, pet dander, smoke, household sprays and chemicals, and gas fumes -- any of which can make their lives miserable," Dr. William Reisacher, director of the Allergy Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a medical center news release.
One way to prevent a winter allergy flare-up is to keep holiday
"Mold spores can cause additional problems compared to pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive," said Dr. Rachel Miller, director of allergy and immunology at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, which is part of the medical center.
The experts recommended several other ways to keep mold and dust
allergies in check, including:
- Turn on exhaust fans when taking a shower or cooking to reduce
humidity and odors.
- Use a HEPA vacuum on carpets to reduce pet allergens and remove
- Wash your hands after playing with pets.
- Avoid touching your face to reduce exposure to winter
- Wash sheets and pajamas in hot water (about 130 degrees) to
kill dust mites.
- Remove carpets, rugs and plants from your bedroom, and do not
allow pets to enter. Try placing an allergenic barrier on your
pillows and mattress.
- Live Christmas trees should be sprayed with water before they
are brought inside. Be sure to remove the dust from all other
- Make sure your furnace fan is always on and install
high-efficiency furnace filters, which eliminate 30 times more
- Using a humidifier or dehumidifier, maintain indoor humidity
levels of 30 percent to 40 percent.
- Follow manufacturer directions on when to change the water and
filters in your humidifier.
- Examine your home for signs of mold and identify areas that
smell musty or may be at risk for mold growth.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
provides additional tips on how to manage
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