Breathe Easier: How To Make Winter Allergies Less Obnoxious
While many people associate seasonal allergies with the proliferation of pollen in the spring, winter is actually a really rough time for those with allergies. Worse, winter allergies are mostly associated with our homes, where we tend to up holed up during the cold months. Here’s how to minimize the allergens in your home and make your house a cozy place without the sneezes.
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Put an air purifier in the bedroom.
The bedroom is probably the room in your home that aggravates the most allergies, both because of what’s in there (your bed) and because you are in there for so long. Putting an air purifier in your bedroom goes a long way toward giving you restorative, allergy-attack-free rest.
Cover your bedding with allergy covers.
Dust mites love to be in warm, humid environments where there is a steady supply of food (they love to feast on shed flakes of skin), so your bed is one of their favorite spots. Covering pillows, mattresses, and comforters is the best way to protect yourself from allergic reactions to dust mites because they keep food from getting to dust mites and they prevent dust mite allergens from getting to you. These covers from Achoo Allergy are my favorites.
Wash your bedding and blankets regularly.
Definitely wash your bedding in water that’s at least 130ºF, but don’t forget the blankets you probably have around the house to keep you toasty during the winter. Buy washable blankets in the first place and launder them frequently so a couch curl-up doesn’t turn into an allergy attack.
With all the extra time spent indoors combined with the lack of air circulation—windows don’t get opened when it’s cold—allergens build up at faster rates during the winter months. Plan to vacuum frequently with a good vacuum (I’m in love with my Dyson, but at least just make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter), and do it the right way.
Humidify your home.
Forced air heating units dry out your home, which means more dust—and pet dander if you have animals. But the heat also dries out your skin and mucous membranes, which makes your allergy symptoms even worse. A humidifier can help keep your home at the ideal humidity, which is between 30% and 50% (too-humid air is no good for allergies either). Some humidifiers, like this one from Boneco, have a built-in gauge so you know the current humidity level, but you can also use a hygrometer.