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Winter Allergens: The Forgotten Allergy Season for Some

  • November 24, 2020
  • Written by: TruSens

Woman drinking out of mug, wrapped in scarf.

As weather grows colder, you may overlook allergens which are present year-round. There are no specific allergens that increase during the winter season, but there may still be allergens present in your home. Those who suffer from exposure to indoor allergens may experience symptoms due to increased time spent indoors.

Indoor Allergens in the Winter

Winter allergies come from allergens that get trapped inside your home. These airborne allergens may include dust, pet dander, and mold. Many people don’t realize that indoor air can actually be dirtier than outdoor air.

Dust

Dust can quickly collect on everything in your home during any time of the year. In the winter, dust collects quicker due to the decreased airflow throughout your home. With the windows closed, the dust doesn’t have anywhere to go but collect on your surfaces and stay inside.

Learn more about how to reduce dust in your home here.

Pet Dander

If you have pet allergies and a pet, you understand that it is always allergy season in your home. Pet dander can be found on almost any indoor surface like bedding, clothing, and floors. Although this is a year-round occurrence, airborne pet dander allergens may increase in the winter.

During the winter, your pets may also be spending more time indoors. Not only will this give them the opportunity to leave more dander in your home, but they’re probably also spending more time cuddling with you.

Learn more about pet dander and how to reduce it from your home here.

Mold

Mold thrives in places with moisture like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Not all homes have mold, but those that do will be trapping the mold indoors during the winter months. In addition, the heat may contribute to the growth of mold, since mold thrives in wet and humid conditions.

Learn more about managing exposure to mold allergens here.

Cockroach Droppings

Cockroaches are unsightly pests that can end up in your home, and they are a potential allergy trigger. “The National Pest Management Association reports that 63% of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, that number rises to between 78% and 98% of homes.” (American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, ACAAI)

Who May Be Affected by Winter Allergens?

People who are at risk of experiencing allergy symptoms during the winter include those who are allergic to any indoor allergens, have those allergens present in their homes, and spend time indoors exposed to those allergens. In locations that do not have a very cold winter, allergens may not get trapped indoors as much as in colder climates. 

Potential Winter Allergy Symptoms

People who are allergic to winter allergens such as dust, pet dander, mold, or cockroach droppings, may experience allergy symptoms. General hay fever or allergic rhinitis symptoms can include the following:

  • “Sneezing
  • Itching of the nose, eyes, or roof of mouth
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Watery, red, or swollen eyes “

(Mayo Clinic)

Winter Allergies Vs. Colds

Allergies and the common cold have a lot of similar symptoms and can be easily confused. However, they have differences in their causes, some symptoms, and their timing.

Colds are caused by viruses, which are contagious and often spread through physical contact like sneezes or coughs, or hand shaking. When you have a cold, your immune system works to fight it, and this usually takes between 3-14 days.

Allergies are caused by a reaction in your immune system to something in your environment, such as mold, dust, or pollen. Allergies are not contagious and can occur any time the immune system comes in contact with a trigger. Allergy symptoms may include itchy, watery eyes but are rare with a cold. (Mayo Clinic)

How to Manage Winter Allergens

If you suffer from allergy symptoms during the winter, consider using one of the following tips to manage indoor air allergens.

Wipe Your Feet or Remove Your Shoes

Wipe your feet when entering any indoor space from the outside. Wherever you go when you leave the house, you have the potential to track in allergens. Leaving shoes in a designated area will help to control the number of allergens making their way through the home. If you live in a place that snows in the winter, you’ll want to leave shoes on a mat to dry.

Dust Regularly

 If dust allergens are the issue, be sure to dust and vacuum regularly to avoid dust gathering on surfaces over time.

Use Allergy-Specific Bed Products

To help with allergy symptoms at night, use allergy-specific bed products. These products include covers for your pillows, mattress, comforter, box spring, and more.

Use an Air Purifier

Use an air purifier. Air purifiers help to capture airborne allergens including dust, pet dander, and mold from your indoor air.

Regularly Wash Fabrics

 Allergens can attach to fabrics such as bedding, clothing, rugs, and towels. Regularly wash these to help minimize the allergens present around your home.

TruSens Air Purifiers Help to Reduce Indoor Winter Allergens

Air purifiers are an easy way to manage indoor allergens. Wiping down surfaces and washing fabrics will eliminate dust that has gathered and landed, but you can help prevent dust build up with TruSens Air Purifiers. TruSens Air Purifiers reduce winter allergens in your home by capturing dust, pet dander, mold, and many other bothersome pollutants. TruSens also offers a specialty Allergy & Flu Filter that captures 99% of airborne allergens.

Summary

In summary, allergens such as dust, pet dander, and mold may be present in your home year-round. It’s easy to overlook these allergens, as winter is not necessarily known as one of the common allergy seasons. However, steps taken to manage allergens in your home should be taken year-round. Here at TruSens, reducing allergens from your indoor air is one of our year-round priorities.