Reduce Your Allergy Exposure This Winter

While this may be the most wonderful time of the year, it may be quite the opposite story for those who suffer from indoor allergies such as pet dander, mold, and dust mites. As the colder air moves into Central Florida, heating systems are being turned on for the first time all year and stirring up the dust that has settled in the HVAC vents, carpets, sofas, curtains, and let’s not forget the dust in the attic after taking down the holiday decorations.

We’ve put together a few tips to reduce indoor allergy exposure in your home:

  1. Dust mites feed off of dead skin cells, so they are very prevalent in our bedding (which is also the reason our allergy symptoms may be worse in the mornings upon waking). It is important to wash bedding in hot water (>140 degrees) at least once a week.
  2. Use hypoallergenic pillow case and mattress encasements.
  3. Dust frequently using a damp cloth or other dust cleansing agent (such as Pledge, etc.) and avoid “dry dusting” as this will prevent the dust particles from spreading and being dispersed into the air.
  4. Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters for AC/furnace which will trap the circulating dust in the home.
  5. Wear a mask while dusting and avoid area for 20 minutes afterwords.
  6. For pet dander, use HEPA vacuum cleaners.
  7. Wash pet once a week, and restrict them from your bedding if possible.
  8. The kitchen and bathrooms should always be inspected for mold and mildew. Keep surfaces clean and dry with daily clean ups; inspect for leaks frequently and repair quickly.
  9. Identify and clean areas with fungicide or bleach (such as grout in your bathtub/shower etc.).
  10. Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home to less than 50%.

Knowledge is power and we hope this was helpful in reducing your allergy exposure this winter. If you experience allergy symptoms such as frequent sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, post nasal drip, coughing, and/or frequent ear or sinus infections, we advise you to speak with your provider to determine if allergy testing may be advised. After your test, we can discuss treatment options and develop a treatment plan tailored to targeting your allergies to get you on the right track to improve your quality of life.

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