With the onset of winters, starts the holiday season. People prefer to spend more time indoors and being warm and cozy inside their blankets. While staying indoors and enjoying that hot cup of coffee, people are often oblivious to the fact that staying home can also contribute to several diseases.
We believe in the notion that home is the safest place. People are exposed to household allergens such as dust mites and skin flakes from the pets when they stay indoors. Susceptible people can suffer from an allergic reaction when these otherwise harmless substances enter the body. (Also Read: 10 Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter )
So, it becomes obvious to think of what to do in such cases. Fortunately, there are some tips that can curb the risk of an allergic reaction from occurring during winter.
What causes dust allergy during winters?
Any allergen can trigger reactions in people who are prone to allergies. Doctors believe that people in winter tend to stay indoors because of the drop in temperature. Hence, allergens are more likely to be indoors than outdoors. Some of the common causes of a dust allergy, especially during winters are-
Molds occur in moist places such as bathrooms and kitchens. Unfortunately, the thing with mold is that these are invisible to the naked eyes. Breathing these airborne spores from the mold can trigger an allergic reaction.
This is the most common type of allergy that people suffer from during winters. This is most likely to occur after cleaning, sweeping or dusting the house. Dust mites are small bugs that are found in mattresses, bedding, carpeting, and furniture with upholstery.
Having a pet is another factor that can contribute to allergic reactions. Some people are severely allergic to skin dander, saliva, and urine, especially when it is combined with household dust. Many people keep birds as pets. Feathers or bird droppings can combine with the dust in the air and become airborne.
Several people are allergic to pollen that comes from trees, grasses, flowers or weeds. Pollen is a common substance found in dust that can trigger an allergic reaction.
When people, prone to dust allergies come in contact with or inhale pet dander, molds or dust mites, the body releases antibodies known as histamine. The histamine confuses these allergens as harmful and triggers symptoms that are similar to the common cold. (Also Read: How Are Allergies and Common Cold Different?)
Symptoms of a dust allergy
A person suffering from a dust allergy experiences-
- Redness and itchiness in the eyes
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Cough (Also Read: 9 Doctor-Approved Home Remedies for Dry Cough )
- Itchiness in throat or nose
- Post-nasal drip
Hence, it becomes essential for people susceptible to dust allergies to take preventive measures on the onset of winters itself.
10 Tips to Prevent Dust Allergy
You cannot prevent allergies once you have exposed yourself to an allergen. Hence, to lower the risk of dust allergies, one has to take preventive measures. Some of the home remedies that have been proven to be effective in preventing allergies during winters are mentioned below.
- You can keep dust mites out, use a special protective cover over the bedding including the pillows and mattresses.
- To reduce dander and dust mite build-up, wash the clothes, bedding and any covers of any removable upholstery regularly.
- To avoid stirring up dust while cleaning floors, use a damp mop.
- Restrict coming in contact with pets to lower the risk of allergies. Wash your pets every week to wash away dander and other allergens.
- One of the best ways to prevent allergies during winter is by regularly washing hands. This washes off all pet allergens as well as decreases the risk of transmission of common winter viruses.
- Vacuuming your home regularly removes the majority of allergen particles from most surfaces.
- If someone is already suffering from dust allergy, he/ she should stay away from vacuuming and dusting.
- Ensure you don’t have any clutter in the home. A clutter collects more dust than usual.
- Don’t keep stuffed toys in bed. Make sure to wash stuffed toys regularly, especially on the onset of winters to get rid of dust.
- Keep antihistamines and nasal decongestants, neti pots handy during winters. (Also Read: Sinus Infection Treatment at Home )
How to keep indoors clean?
It also becomes vital to maintain good air quality, even indoors. Here are a few tips that can help to keep the air as clean as possible.
- Absolutely restrict smoking indoors.
- Keep windows and doors open to promote air circulation.
- Perform activities that can cause pollution such as painting, polishing the furniture outside the house.
- Turn on exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom after using it.
- Check for any leaks from water taps regularly. Repair these leaks to prevent mold formation.
What to do in case a dust allergy has already developed?
If the symptoms of an allergy don’t go on its own, it is time to visit the doctor. By the time you visit the clinic, you can try any of the following-
- Antihistamine medications to get relief from sneezing, sniffling and itching.
- Decongestants to unclog the congestion and swelling.
- For severe cases, doctors also provide allergy shots and tablets.