Simple Tips for Winter Allergy Relief

There are over 200 different allergens out there. Some allergens may stick around long after colder weather strikes.

The big winter allergy culprits are dust mites , pet dander and mould . But if you live in a warmer climate or travel to one, pollen allergies can also act up. To make matters worse, spending more time indoors with the windows shut can increase your exposure to these allergens. We’re here to help with simple tips for giving winter allergy triggers the boot.

Dust Mite Allergies

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live off of dead human skin and pet dander and are found anywhere dust particles collect. Even if you’re a neat freak, it’s impossible to rid your home entirely of this common indoor allergen , but you can find a few quick tips to help reduce your exposure below.

Ditch The Dust

  • Put impermeable dust mite covers on your mattresses, box springs and pillows. When travelling, pack a couple covers for the pillows at your destination.
  • Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 60oC). Be sure to check the washing instructions first.
  • Diminish moisture-loving dust mites by using a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in your home below 50%.

For more dust allergy tips, read The Dirt on Dust Mites.

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The average home may collect an estimated 18 kg of dust each year. And there may be hundreds of microscopic dust mites lurking in just one gram of dust.

Pet Dander Allergies

It’s not the pet’s fur that causes your allergic reaction. It’s the proteins found in the animal’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva or urine. These particles are so light that they can stick to your shoes, clothes and hair. Which means they can get inside your home—even if you’re not among the many households that has a pet.

Tame Pet Allergies

  • Remove shoes at the door, toss clothes in the laundry and shower upon returning home. No time for a shower? At least wash your hands and face.
  • Sweep floors and vacuum carpets weekly with either a double-layered micro filter bag or a HEPA filter to trap pet allergens.
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Most people think of dogs and cats when it comes to pet allergies. But the allergy -causing proteins in pet dander can also be found in hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and more.

Mould Allergies

Indoor mould sheds spores all year and is found lurking in damp spots, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, attics, refrigerators and windowsills. Since mould thrives in damp spaces, mould allergy symptoms may be more common during the summer months when it’s hot and humid. But they can be prevalent year-round in warm climates and wherever moisture builds up in your home.

Control Moisture-loving Mould

  • Dry areas that get wet frequently, such as countertops and front-loading washing machines. And be sure to fix leaks quickly.
  • Open a window or use an exhaust fan over the stove when cooking and in the bathroom when showering to remove extra humidity.
  • Get an inexpensive hygrometer (humidity monitor) at the hardware store to measure your home’s moisture levels. When humidity levels rise above 50%, use a dehumidifier.

Pollen Allergies

If you live in a warmer climate or are travelling to one, milder temperatures may mean pollen allergies stick around for the winter.

Put Pollen In Its Place

  • Keep an eye on pollen levels in your area, so you know what to expect.
  • On days when the pollen count is especially high, avoid outdoor activities if possible.
  • Remove your shoes, shower and change your clothes after coming inside so you don’t track pollen in. At the very least, wash your hands and face.
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Pet dander, pollen and mould spores are so light they can stick to your clothes, shoes and hair. To help keep these
allergy triggers from getting tracked inside, remove your shoes at the door, take a quick shower and change your
clothes after coming home. Don’t have time for a shower? Try to at least wash your face and hands.

Could it Be a Cold?

Wondering if your seasonal sniffles are allergies or a cold? Find out five ways to learn the difference.