The holiday season comes with cold weather and even snow, but that doesn’t mean that all potential allergy triggers have been frozen and cannot get to you. In fact, fall and winter bring with them a whole new set of potential allergy triggers, so make sure you are aware of what these are and how to avoid them:
Outdoor and Indoor Mold
The snow or rain can leave things damp and prime for growing mold, like fireplace logs or wet, fallen leaves.
To prevent coming in contact with mold from the outside remove all wet dirt and leaves from around the foundation of your home as well as the gutters. In addition, be sure to stack all firewood outside and only bring it inside as soon as you are going to make use of it.
Unfortunately mold can also grow indoors, especially in Houston’s humid environment. When the heat is on, try keep the humidity levels inside of your house below 50 percent. If necessary, consider purchasing a humidifier for this purpose.
Indoor Air Quality
Most people spend the majority of their time indoors during the fall and winter. This is why it is so important to be aware of your indoor air quality during this time period. Make sure that you are changing the air filter on your heater every month to keep allergens from circulating in the air around your house.
It is also important that you clean your chimney and make sure that the vents are working properly. Before you start using it for the first time this season, you’ll want to remove soot, blockages, and flammable creosote build-up.
Decorations and Ornaments
Holiday decorations and ornaments are usually stored away in closets, garages, basements, or attics for the remainder of the year, which can cause for these items to become coated in dust or mold. To avoid this, thoroughly clean and dry all decorations and ornaments before putting them away this year, keep them in sealed plastic bags and store them in airtight containers or clean boxes. This will help avoid any dust mites from proliferating since they thrive in warm, humid environments (which we don’t have enough of in this city, right?).
If you are extremely sensitive to mold and dust, wear a dust mask when taking your decorations and ornaments out of storage.
Live trees are usually not recommended for people who suffer from mid to extreme allergies. However, if you absolutely have to have a live tree there are some things you can do to eliminate potential allergy triggers. To get rid of any mold on the trunk, wipe it with a warm water/diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). You should also be aware that your tree might still be pollinating. If this is the case try using a leaf blower to remove all pollen grains for the leaves and trunk.
If you are using a fake tree, give it a wipe-down before decorating with lights and ornaments to remove all potential allergy triggers.
Scented products such as scented candles, air sprays, potpourri, etc. can cause indoor air pollution and trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Try checking with your family members and guests before you make use of any scented products while they are around.
The cold can cause asthma symptoms to flare up or worsen. It is recommended that people who suffer from asthma wear a scarf or muffler over their face in order to warm and humidify the air that’s going into their lungs.
If avoidance does not work, you should see a specialist who will be able to recommend a course of treatment to control your allergies.