While problems of hay fever are reduced during winter, being indoors a lot and winter dryness can pose problems for allergy sufferers at this time of the year. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) the following tips could help keep allergies at bay –
- Humidity should be kept to an optimum level of about or below 55%. While winter dryness can be troublesome, too much indoor humidity can also be problematic. Too much moisture can increase dust mites, so consider whether you need the humidifier at all.
- Use a high efficiency furnace filter, with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 and make sure that the filter is changed when required.
- Allergens should be kept outside the bedroom as far as possible. Take special care to keep away pet dander, if required encase mattresses and pillows in covers that are mite proof.
- Use blinds that can be washed rather than curtains.
- Keep special check on housekeeping – use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Bedding and stuffed toys should be washed in hot water every two weeks or so. It is also advisable that a NIOSH-rated N95 mask be used each time dusting is done.
- Ventilation and fans should be used to reduce moisture and mold in the home
- Control noxious fumes that may enter the home via the garage, etc.
- Reduce chances of dust collecting by keeping books boxed, reducing the number of indoor plants, and having appropriate furniture.