Now that winter is upon us, you may have thought allergy season was finally over. Unfortunately, allergy season is never really over! The cold weather brings along with it its particular allergens, so get ready for what’s ahead.
In New Jersey, the main winter allergens we experience are from Christmas trees and mold. Furthermore, because most homes are airtight during winter, with little ventilation and inadequate filtration, we’re often afflicted by dust, pet dander, dust mites, smoke, and chemicals that recirculate in the HVAC system.
Cold weather can cause problems by irritating noses and throats. Vasomotor rhinitis — a non-allergic type of rhinitis that results in a runny nose, congestion, and post-nasal drip — is common, as is cold urticaria, a type of hives caused by exposure to cold, ingesting cold food and drinks, and swimming in cold water. Consult a physician to determine if you’re suffering from one of these conditions or an actual allergy. We’re not doctors, after all.
Containing Winter Allergens
Make sure to follow some of these tips for containing winter allergens at the source.
- Vacuum carpets and upholstered surfaces frequently with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to pick up dust mites and dander from carpets. If you have severe allergies to dust mites, you might want to get rid of the carpets once and for all!
- Launder linens frequently in hot water (130°F) to kill dust mites. Clean linens equal cleaner air!
- Clean dust from holiday ornaments and spray the Christmas tree with a garden hose before setting it up. (Make sure to let it dry before bringing it into the house, of course.)
- Install furnace filters with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) to trap pollen, mold, dust, and other contaminants. In other words, make friends with MERV this holiday season.
- Ensure that humidity in your home isn’t more than 50 percent. Dust mites love damp conditions.
- Treat sources of mold, like leaky pipes, roofs, or condensation around windows.
- Damp mop floors frequently.
- Turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen or bathroom to remove excess humidity.
Consult the experts at Pipe Works Services, for help controlling winter allergens this heating season. We’ve been serving Morris, Somerset, Essex, and Union Counties since 2000.