Say Goodbye to Hay Fever, Hello to Winter Allergies

Although allergies to pets, mold and dust last all year, they may be more pronounced in the winter when people spend more time indoors.

Although allergies to pets, mold and dust last all year, they may be more pronounced in the winter when people spend more time indoors.

Depending on where you live, hay fever season might be coming to a close in a few weeks. That’s the good news, and it isn’t coming a moment too soon for the millions of people who suffer from weed pollen allergies. The bad news: with the approach of cold, wet weather, you’ll likely be spending more time indoors where a new set of allergens will step into the spotlight.

Mold, pet dander and dust mites can cause problems year round but when you’re cooped up with them, their effect becomes more pronounced. That head cold or “sinusitis” that just seems to hang around all winter … maybe it’s not a cold after all — it could be an allergic reactions to one of these common triggers. And those recurring ear infections your child gets — they, too, could be caused by allergies.

On the positive side, there are simple ways to fight at least two of these allergens. You can combat mold by keeping your kitchen and bathrooms dry. Be especially diligent about drying showers, where mold likes to grow in corners, and tile countertops where grout can soak up moisture.

Similarly, you can keep dust at bay by cleaning regularly and washing your bedsheets and pillow cases in HOT water weekly. Specialized covers over your mattress and pillows can help control dust mite migration. Dust mites also live in carpets, so vacuum constantly. In addition, dust clings to drapes, stuffed animals and other soft fabrics so make sure you wash them frequently in hot water if you plan to keep them around.

Pet dander can be harder to control if you have a pet, or visit homes with pets. Vacuuming helps if you do it often, but pet hair also sticks onto furniture, clothing and more. And if you let your pet lick you, you’re getting a full dose of allergen right to the face. But who wants to turn away their lovable friend when it’s showing affection? If you can’t keep up the rigid cleaning regiment, and/or don’t want to snub your pet, your best bet might be immunotherapy (allergy drops or shots).

Immunotherapy teaches your body to ignore allergens so allergy symptoms don’t develop in the first place. And both allergy shots, and allergy drops can help you overcome multiple allergies at once — for instance, pet dander, tree pollen and ragweed pollen — so you can resolve all of your allergy triggers with one form of treatment and enjoy the entire year allergy-free. To learn more about immunotherapy, click here.

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