As the cold winter blows in, those with dust mite and pet dander allergies know all too well that for many this season can mean increased congestion and sneezing. While no cure exists, there are still several ways you can help mitigate indoor allergens so you don’t miss out on any of the chilly joys of winter. Follow these simple pointers to breathe a bit easier during your holiday celebrations.
- Keep the humidity below 50 percent (30-40 percent is ideal) using a humidifier in dry areas and a dehumidifier in damp areas. Balanced humidity prevents allergens like dust mites and mold from growing.
- Keep your carpets clean and healthy with regular vacuuming; a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will help remove dust mites and pet allergens, ensuring your winter allergies remain at bay.
- Allergens can easily attach to carpeting and cause winter allergies to flare up, but hard floor surfaces like tile, vinyl, laminate, and hardwood help keep them away. Be sure to mop them regularly.
- Hire a reliable cleaning service or enlist the help of a family member to take on all that dusting and vacuuming to avoid any flare-ups in your allergies.
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130 degrees or more) to kill dust mites. Hypoallergenic cases for mattresses and pillows can help trap them as well.
- To protect yourself from pet dander and allergens, make sure animals don’t venture into your bedroom. Also, take precautionary measures and wash your hands after touching animals, if you are allergic to pet dander.
- Bathe your furry companions weekly to decrease dander levels. Don’t bathe them more often than once a week, as more frequent bathing dries out the pet’s skin, resulting in more dander.
- Use an exhaust fan when cooking or showering to decrease humidity.
- Switch to high-efficiency furnace filters that trap 30 times more allergens than normal filters.
- Declutter your home by getting rid of items that are hard to clean, like pillows and plush toys. Not only will you save time on cleaning, but also create a tidier living space.
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