Hayfever may be no problem during winter, but having to stay indoors during the freezing cold weather raises other concerns for allergic people in the form of dust, pet dander and mould.
Here are some tips from the allergists at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunity:
- Maintaining low humidity levels (lower than 55%) will keep the dust mite population down.
- Install a high-efficiency furnace filter to keep the air free from pollutants such as airborne dander, dust and mould particles.
- Keeping your bedroom as free as possible from allergens, because this is where you spend approximately a third of your life. Do not allow pets into the room, buy dust-mite proof covers for you mattress and pillows, and consider getting blinds instead of curtains (because curtains hold dust).
- Keep your house cleaner by using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air) which will trap a greater amount of smaller particles. Wear a mask whilst dusting, and wash bedding and stuffed animals (toy animals…) every two weeks.
- Reduce mould growth in bathrooms and kitchens by using fans and opening windows whenever either room is in use. Clean any visible mould wearing latex-gloves and using a 5% bleach solution and detergent.
- Check the contents of your garage if it is attached to the house: any insecticides, gasoline or other irritants away, and do not start the car in the garage and let the engine run.
- Get minimalist: box up books and knick knacks. Limit indoor plants. Buy furniture with non-porous fabrics, like leather.
These are some easy, first-step tips. For other, more serious ways to make changes to your house, consult with an allergy specialist.
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunity
1First Published Dcember 2010
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