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5 Allergy Triggers and How to Conquer Them This Winter

indoor air quality

Many people consider spring to be allergy season, but allergens can be a problem year-round, even in the winter. Discover six top cool-weather allergy triggers and how to avoid them in your Dallas-area home.

Dust Mites

Many people associate dust mites with humidity, but they can be as much a problem in the fall and winter months. During winter it can be easy to add too much heat and moisture to your home, which provides ideal conditions for dust mites to flourish. In addition, the fact that we keep our homes tightly closed to keep out the cold air also helps dust mites to thrive. The Dallas area’s humid climate can see warm, humid conditions extending late into the year as well.

Fortunately, you can easily keep these allergens in check by maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30 than 50 percent. Dusting and thoroughly vacuuming your home at least once a week will also help to keep dust mites under control. Be sure to wash bedding and vacuum carpet, drapes, and upholstered furniture to target dust mites in their favorite hiding places.

Mold and Mildew

These fungi can grow just about anywhere their spores land, but particularly moist indoor areas offer the best environment for mold and mildew. Since these allergens can trigger serious reactions, keep an eye out for mold and mildew growing in damp areas like the bathroom, the basement, or around leaky pipes.

If you do notice mold or mildew growing, stop these allergens by cleaning the area with a gentle detergent and prevent it from growing back by managing your home’s humidity level. If you struggle to maintain an acceptable humidity level, consider installing a whole-home dehumidifier to give your HVAC system a break and keep your home healthy.

Pet Dander

Animal dander is another year-round problem that tends to intensify in the winter when both you and your pet spend more time indoors. Intensified exposure to dander, or skin cells, can trigger reactions in those who are allergic.

If pet dander compromises your home’s indoor air quality, a high-quality air filter can help. Each time your HVAC system cycles, it will clean the dander from your home’s air. In addition, you can reduce pet dander by giving pets a bath at least once a week and keeping them off beds, couches, and other furniture where dander can accumulate.

Firewood

Winter is the perfect time to warm up around the fireplace, but fires don’t always contribute to healthy indoor air. When you move firewood indoors, take an extra minute to check for mold. Firewood that is stored outdoors can be a haven for mold spores, which can travel through your home once inside.

If you or your family members have allergies to smoke, be sure to ventilate your home properly before lighting a fire. Open the chimney damper to route smoke up the chimney so less smoke will filter through your home, and consider an air purifier to help clear the air.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are one of the most festive parts of the season, but not all trees are good indoors. Like firewood, Christmas trees can harbor mold spores, and other allergens — many of which are microscopic. It is a good idea to clean the tree by spraying it down with a garden hose, and then allowing it to dry before moving it inside. If family members have serious mold allergies that you are worried about triggering, consider decorating an artificial tree this year instead. You will still need to watch for dust with the artificial trees.

Conquer Allergens

Allergies make you miserable with symptoms such as constant sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. Don’t let allergens ruin your holidays and your time indoors. Pay attention to changes or new activities that cause reactions and adopt effective cleaning habits. Ventilate when possible by opening doors and windows. Air cleaning products are a good idea if anyone in your home has serious respiratory problems.

Need professional help to address your home’s allergens? Call Airwise Heating & Air Conditioning today at (817) 444-0090. We have the knowledge and equipment to provide effective indoor air quality solutions.

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