Winter Allergies: Allergy Season Really Lasts All Year Long

Dust mites are a common allergen for people with eczema

By Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Published On: Nov 15, 2016

Last Updated On: Jul 15, 2021

It hardly seems fair, but if you’re prone to summer allergies, chances are you’re at risk for allergies when the weather turns cold, too. Most winter allergies can be triggered by the same inhaled allergens of summer.

Many of those warm weather irritants are around all year, like pet dander, mold, and mildew. During the winter months, people tend to spend more time indoors. When windows are shut and the heater is on, less fresh air is circulated through your home and exposure to indoor allergens increases.

In order to combat winter allergies you must first know your triggers. Visiting your Board Certified allergist for testing is the best way to confirm your triggers. With that knowledge in hand, you can create you own allergen reduction and environmental control plan to help reduce your exposure to your specific triggers. Allergen control, reduction, and avoidance are cornerstones of asthma and allergy care.

Here are some common allergens that are present year-round and tips for avoiding them.

Dust mites

These microscopic allergen producers are present in every room of every home and building. Bedding, pillows and soft goods are major harbors. Proteins in the eggs and waste of dust mites are allergens to many asthmatics and people with allergic sensitivities. Routinely wash bedding, rugs and other soft goods in water hotter than 130°F to kill dust mites and denature allergens. Look for CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly™ bedding and encasements that are proven barriers to dust mites to help reduce exposure.

Pet dander

Because cold weather means pets are indoors more often, your exposure to dander escalates in the winter months, leading to a corresponding surge in symptoms. Wash your pet often and vacuum your house regularly using a vacuum cleaner with high suction power and filtration. All CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly™ vacuums have the proven capability to effectively remove various allergens and trap them within the vacuum cleaner system without leakage through the filter, seals, bag or canister/frame during use and waste removal from the machine.

Furnaces and heat pumps

Whether there are hard freezes or milder temperatures in your area, airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and dander can be repeatedly circulated through your home by your heating system. We do not recommend that asthma and allergy sufferers buy low efficiency, inexpensive air filters since they do a poor job of trapping ultrafine particles, the biggest culprits at triggering allergic and asthmatic reactions. Look for CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly™ HVAC/Furnace filters and replace them as they become dirty.

Finding CERTIFIED household products is a great way to begin managing and reducing your exposure to allergens. By reviewing your home on a room-by-room basis, you can identify the places where allergens tend to accumulate.

For more information on products certified products, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Originally published by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Reproduced with permission.

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