As we move further into fall, we need to start thinking about allergens that affect us when it is not spring trees, summer grasses and fall weeds. Winter brings some challenges that are just as difficult to deal with as our outdoor pollens.
Humidity decreases in the winter months increasing our chances of having nasal congestion, cracking of our nasal passages and increased risk of infection from that damage. It is very important to keep the humidity level at 50% to decrease the risk of this happening, while still maintaining control of dust mites in our environment. Nasal saline can also be used frequently through out the day to help maintain moisture in the nasal passages.
Dust mites thrive anywhere we shed skin cells. Our bedding is the most infiltrated with these microscopic bugs that we all have. Next is our carpeting and upholstered furniture. The single most effective thing we can do for dust mite allergens is mattress and pillow encasements. These encasements are found in most stores that sells bedding.
As we get closer to the holidays, the decorations that we have in storage will become a trigger for our allergies. The dust that is stirred up when we get them out of storage will increase our allergy symptoms. Remember to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask to prevent the dust from being inhaled and shower/change your clothes as soon after you are done as possible. Nasal lavage/rinsing is also highly recommended.
Dust also increases with the cold weather as we turn on our heat. Air ducts that may not have been cleaned, or that have been setting still for several months now have forced air pushed through them and out into our rooms. Make sure to check your filters before turning on the heat. If you think the ducts may need cleaning, make sure to get several estimates as this can be a very costly endeavor.
Of course, our pets remain in the house too. Limit their time in the bedrooms, and certainly keep them out of your bed.