Tips for Avoiding Indoor Allergens this Fall and Winter
As we begin closing up our homes when cooler outside temperatures approach, there are some strategic things that we can do to minimize contact with indoor allergens. We use the term "indoor allergens" to mean any allergenic substance (one that can cause a histamine reaction) such as dust mite, animal dander, mold, and cockroach allergens as opposed to outdoor pollen allergens from trees, grasses, and other plants like ragweed. Many people are also sensitive to chemicals, but those are not allergens as defined in medical literature.
There are a number of important steps that you can take to avoid indoor allergens that you can also apply to allergen management all year, while other steps are primarily ones to use during the fall and winter. There are strategies for each season with some overlap of actions to take all year long.
Encasing your pillow, mattress, comforter, and box spring is an example of a year-round strategy for minimizing contact with dust mite allergen, while having the cooling coil and drip pan in your air conditioner checked for mold in the spring or early summer is a seasonal strategy.
The greatest allergen avoidance challenge we all experience during the fall and winter is reducing airborne contaminants in tightly sealed homes, because there is so little introduction of fresh air during the cold months. So, to a great extent, our home's air is trapped and recycled until we open up again in the spring. However, there are ways to reduce allergens even in this "closed system" during the winter months. See how many of the following strategies you can implement.
Our goal is to help you live a more comfortable life with your allergies and to help you or your children avoid asthma attacks by reducing contact with the allergens that offend you. As always, if you have questions about implementing any of these strategies, please call one of our highly trained experts 9 - 5:30 ET Mon. - Fri. 1-800-522-1448 or email us at email@example.com.
- Install a high efficiency disposable or permanent electrostatic furnace filter and run your furnace fan on the "on" setting for the first week to filter the air thoroughly.
- Change pre-filters and main HEPA filters in room air purifiers, or purchase a new HEPA Air Purifier for your bedroom and run it 24/7. These highly efficient air cleaners help supplement the filtration supplied by your furnace filter and will scrub impurities that your furnace filter misses out of the air in your bedroom.
- Treat carpets and upholstered furniture with allergen neutralizing products or solutions that kill dust mites.
- Vacuum all surfaces to reduce the presence of animal dander and other allergens with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner.
- Fall and winter are good times to inspect your home for leaks to reduce the possibility of mold growth. After fixing any leaks, use a fungicide after cleanup.
- Insects tend to migrate indoors in colder months. Begin by keeping your kitchen and food storage areas clean and free of food. There are a number of ways to eliminate cockroaches, and we've found that large bait traps work very well.
- As the relative humidity in most of the country drops, consider beginning a twice daily regimen of saline nasal irrigation to wash nasal passages and keep them moistened.
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