It’s that time of year again for many of us across the country – the time when you bunker in the confinements of your home in order to shield yourself from the crisp cold climates of winter. The sniffles and the sneezes have also commenced as the start of the dreaded cold season begins. But what if that cold you presume is taking over is really just the onset of winter allergies?
Over the years on LupusChick, I’ve learned that many of us have issues related to allergies. And it is no surprise, with different research studies concluding that many people with Lupus tend to have allergic issues and hypersensitivity responses. But as we hunker down indoors during winter (thinking we are safe from grass, flowers and other allergens), what if we are surrounded by tiny armed allergens ready to strike and attack at a moment’s notice?
It wasn’t until a few years ago after moving back to New York that I really began to understand winter allergies. I would have a massive allergy attack the first time I turned on the heater – which always turned into a nasty sinus infection – plus, being indoors for longer periods with my dogs seemed to also wreak havoc on my body. Adding an antihistamine to my already present cocktail of drugs wasn’t a great long term option in my opinion. So, how did I combat some of the allergy issues I constantly deal with? Here are 7 of my favorite tips:
Know the Causes of Winter Allergies
Allergens are foreign particles in the air that can lead to an overreaction of the immune system. This overreaction is commonly referred to as Allergies. More than 40 million Americans are allergy-prone and the tight seal of your home during the winter months make it hard to clear your home’s air of these potential pesky allergens.
Allergies have steadily impacted more and more people each year, as allergens get trapped in the tight confinements of your home. When you start to experience itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing this may be one indication that allergies are upon you this season. However, one major problem that occurs is identifying the difference between seasonal allergies and the common cold.
With allergies, you typically will experience itchiness particularly in your eyes, ears, and back of your throat. Whereas with the common cold you will experience symptoms of a viral infection like the aches and maybe a slight fever. Once you have identified allergies as the culprit of your flare-up, obtaining a better understanding of what allergens are in your home that impacts your health can help you in shielding yourself from winter allergies in the years to come.
Discover Natural Remedies for Winter Allergies
Winter allergies have increased in recent years as homes are being designed to be well-insulated fortresses in preparation for the winter season. Your home can harbor a wide range of allergens that can be impacting your allergies quite severely. The most common allergens that make “home” within the bounds of your house are dust mites, mold, household cleaning products, and pet dander.
These allergens can make their way into your home’s air, leading to the dreaded sneeze attacks and respiratory itchiness that makes you want to tear your face off! Learning ways to combat these pesky allergens in your home can help you to breathe a little easier at home this winter.
Vacuum Your Home Frequently
Vacuuming your home may seem like an obvious household task to complete in your home. However, many people try to avoid doing this household task as often as they can, trying to get away with a quick weekly vacuum of their home. If you have allergies or have been experiencing symptoms of allergies, vacuuming more frequently can help remove the allergens from your environment.
Allergens like to settle in the fabrics of your home such as your furniture and carpeting, making those places a key spot in your home for allergens to hide. Vacuuming is an essential defense method to reducing these allergens. Especially with dust mites, that like to harbor in the bases of your carpets, vacuuming this area can help minimize these allergens from multiplying.
Bathing Pets Regularly
My dogs thankfully loves to get a bath – it is usually me who puts it off! However, in the United States, as many as 3 in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Pets have very small pet dander that falls off their body and turns into an allergen that collects on surfaces of your home. These can then become a big contributing factor to your winter allergies.
During the winter, we try to keep our animals indoors and protected in the warm environment, leading dander to accumulate in your home. The protein found in the saliva, urine, and dander of your pet can become airborne and trigger an allergic reaction in those sensitive to the allergen.
Bathing your pet regularly can help to drastically eliminate dander in your home’s environment. It is recommended to wash your pet every week to help control the release of pet dander from your animal too, therefore, gaining better control of the allergens in your home.
Using Green Products
Did you know that the average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals? The vast majority of these chemicals introduced into your environment come from cleaning products used in your home. Not only is it potentially dangerous to be exposed to these chemicals, it can also contribute to growing allergy problems for those exposed to the chemicals as well.
If you have experienced sensitivities to these allergens produced by cleaning products, you may consider switching to a natural, odor-eliminating cleaning line that doesn’t release chemicals into your environment. I mean, let’s be real, who wants to use cleaning products that compromise the quality of the air in your home?
Many of you have heard me talk about a few products I use from Enviroklenz such as their mobile air purification unit, liquid laundry enhancer, etc. Just with the mobile air purification unit alone, my allergies have dramatically improved. I am down from 1 -2 Zyrtec each day, to a half every other day. For me, that is a win!
Wash Fabrics in Your Home
A particular allergen called dust mites love to stake a claim on the fabrics of your home, thriving in your bedding, pillows, and throw rugs. Dust Mites eat the dead skin that you shed from your body making your bed the place they love to lurk in anticipation for the dead skin to come. A dust mite is very small, only measuring about one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter, making them nearly impossible to see.
You may even have millions of these allergens in the confinements of your bed, mattress and pillows (Ewww!). Washing your sheets at least once a week in hot water can help fend off these allergens from your fabrics. Also, consider minimizing fabrics in your home like curtains and fabric furniture that are harder to clean, this will make it harder for dust mites to find a home in your personal environment.
Your home’s air can be the biggest contributor to allergy symptoms in the winter. Allergens get picked up in your air from the surfaces of your home and can than lead directly to your airways. Mold growth in the winter months can accumulate a growth of mold spores in your air causing allergic reactions for many people.
During this time, your home can have little to no ventilation which can cause the development of mold to start to form in your home. If mold starts to grow in your home, you may consider adopting a high efficiency UV Air Purifier in your home to combat and destroy these mold spores in your air.
If you are interested in a product to combat this issue, the EnviroKlenz UV Mobile System utilizes a two-stage filtration process and combines a powerful UVC light to provide a high-efficiency to kill mold spores, viruses, and bacteria in your air. With a HEPA certified filter and the EnviroKlenz patented technology cartridge, you can effectively remove any particles and allergens that are in your home’s air, helping to minimize potential winter allergies.
For many of us with Lupus or other chronic illnesses, allergies are a part of life. But, we don’t have to let allergies get us down this winter. Implementing these strategies into our home can help us not only cope with allergies this season but kick winter allergies out the door!
Feel free to ask me any questions about the products mentioned above, how I use them in my home, and how they help me. I’d be more than happy to share my specific experience with you.
Disclaimer – Some of our posts on LupusChick contain affiliate links. These are links to products I have personally tried and recommend to others, and any proceeds help me keep this site going. Thanks!