As autumn gives way to winter forces here in Michigan, you might think allergy worries are over, but that’s not necessarily the case. Ragweed concerns in Monroe County have been replaced by indoor allergens like dust mites, mold, and pet dander. So before you head behind the ramparts and prepare for the onslaught of snow and ice to come – you need to know how to fight winter allergies lurking inside the home.
Winter allergies are like colds but differ in subtle ways. By learning the signs of each, you can take the correct action toward feeling better this winter. For 20 years, Iceberg Heating & Cooling has been Monroe County’s premiere HVAC specialist, and today we’re going to share some information on fighting winter (indoor) allergies.
If your nasal secretions are watery and clear and your eyes and throat are itchy – with symptoms persisting for weeks – then you probably have winter allergies. Here a few of the major culprits and how to fight them.
They’re hungry, microscopic, and burrowing into your pillowcases and mattress to feast on your dead skin cells as you read this. Dust mites inhabit the dusty corners of your home, bedding, and furniture. So small that 10,000 could fit on a quarter, dust mites can cause a host of allergies – which can exacerbate underlying medicals issues like asthma.
While dust mites don’t pose a serious threat to most people, those with atopic dermatitis may experience horrible itching and redness. Allergists can determine if you’re allergic to these little creatures with a simple scratch test. If you are, dust mites can usually be controlled with a thorough cleaning of your home and an antihistamine like Zyrtec, Claritin, or Alavert.
Mold is a fungus that thrives in wet, damp areas of the home like the basement or bathroom. In fact, for mold to grow, it needs a wet environment. When people who are allergic to mold breathe in the spores, their immune system overreacts, causing sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and making it difficult to breathe. You can reduce your exposure to mold by drying out areas like the bathroom and basement.
This can largely be achieved by opening windows and running box fans for a few days. If your basement functions as a living space, then you may want to consider a dehumidifier. Now is also the perfect time to replace the filters on your HVAC system. If it’s determined your symptoms are mold related, your doctor or allergist may consider over-the-counter medicines like antihistamines and decongestants
Saying you’re allergic to dogs or cats is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually the dander (dead skin flakes), not the pets themselves that are causing the allergic reaction. The best and most effective treatment for a pet dander allergy is to keep pets out of your home. Usually, this is enough for most people to avoid the itching, sneezing, and coughing associated with the allergy. If you want to make sure, an allergist can determine if you’re allergic to pet dander with a simple scratch test.
While these tips and DIY solutions may help you make it through winter feeling better this year, they are by no means a replacement for a medical professional. If you think you have a winter allergy, make an appointment to see your doctor or allergist. We also recommend seeing a doctor before trying any new medications.
At Iceberg Heating & Cooling, we offer a variety of options to tackle indoor allergies with our Comfort Club™ membership program. Comfort Club™ provides you with regular system checks, bi-annual checkups, and service. This will ensure your unit is operating at its best and will meet manufacturer requirements for extended warranties. We’re on call, online, and always on time, so schedule an appointment today by calling the professionals at Iceberg Heating & Cooling at (734) 375-1119, or email us.