More than 50 million Americans struggle with allergies each year, making it the sixth leading cause of chronic illness is the US. Winter allergies can be triggered by indoor air pollutants and plants that pollinate during the winter. Winter allergies can exacerbate asthma symptoms too, particularly if the asthma is worse with the cold weather, so it’s important to manage symptoms and avoid allergens as much as possible.
Air Pollution In The Home
Air pollution around the home is believed to be higher than outdoors due to poor ventilation and more chemicals being used for daily tasks. Cleaning products are a prime culprit as they contain numerous chemicals that are linked to allergies, asthma, cancer, birth defects and psychological disorders, to name a few. The problem with using these chemicals in the home during the winter is that people are less likely to open their windows to ventilate and they’ll be spending more time inside too, so more pollutants get breathed in than they would in the summer. A good switch to make is to natural cleaning products that are better for you, your family home and the environment.
Allergies From Pets
Many allergens are present all year round but spending more time indoors during the winter often means that allergies are more easily triggered or more severe. 10% of people are allergic to household pets, with cats being twice as likely as dogs to cause a reaction. Cats and dogs will often spend more time indoors during cold months, and so will you, meaning you’ll come into contact a lot more frequently than you normally would. When choosing a pet opt for hairless cats, non-shedding dogs or amphibians that won’t trigger allergies.
Cedar Tree Pollen
Some plants and trees pollinate in the winter, such as the cedar tree that is found mainly in North and Central Texas. The cedar tree pollinates from December to March and is a common allergen, often made worse by strong, winter winds that move the pollen about more. Symptoms are similar to hay fever, including a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Using apps like DailyBreath, can help you take control of your allergies and reduce the risk of asthma attacks. This is a personalized app that tracks what could cause a flare up for you, such as changes in the weather and your location, to help you have symptom-free days.
Spending more time outdoors can help to get you away from allergens around the home and opening windows for short periods throughout the day will ventilate your home. Unfortunately, there are also triggers outdoors in the winter that can set allergies off. Be aware of what you’re allergic to, where it is and how to avoid it, where possible.
Contributing Author: Cass Best