Indoor allergens can be a problem in winter

Winter is a prime time for allergens. (Source: CNN)
Published: Dec. 31, 2022 at 7:06 AM MST
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(CNN) - If you’re allergic to pollen, you may be getting a break from the sniffles and sneezes. But when the temperature dips, many face another foe.

Winter is a prime time for perennial allergens.

“Those are the ones from our furry pets. They’re from mold or dust mites, typically,” said Dr. Sandra Hong, an allergist at the Cleveland Clinic.

If you have a runny nose, are sneezing, have watery, itchy eyes or nose, are coughing and these symptoms linger for weeks, you may be suffering from indoor allergies.

Let’s start with pet dander.

Pets are cute and cuddly, but if you’re feeling sneezy after being around a cat or dog, keep them off furniture, especially your bed.

Hong said antihistamines can help.

“If you leave someone’s house with a cat and you’re allergic to them, and you go sit on your favorite couch that’s upholstered and you just hang out and lay there, that cat protein will linger for four months afterwards,” she said.

That’s why Hong said showering and changing clothes after being around someone else’s pet is a good idea.

If you’re allergic to dust mites, you may wake up stuffy.

Hong said adding an air purifier in the bedroom may help. She said to use high-efficiency air filters to clean dust from the air and replace them frequently.

Vacuum carpets or wet mop hard floors often and put covers that help keep allergens from collecting on mattresses, pillows and comforters.

If symptoms don’t improve or you have trouble breathing, see a doctor.

“If it is allergies and you’re allergic to things in your home environment, there are so many things that can be used to treat your allergies and make you feel a whole lot better,” Hong said.

She said to wash your bed linens in hot water each week and dry them in hot heat.

That can also help get rid of those dust mites that may be bothering you.