Allergens can make spring and summer miserable, but they don't disappear entirely during the winter months. In fact, you might find yourself surprised by the number of allergens that can trigger symptoms between December and February. Avoid the following six winter allergen triggers in Georgia this year.
Dust and Dust Mites
Dust accumulates in your home regardless of the season. Even if you're vigilant about vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and other cleaning chores, dust can still remain on unseen surfaces. That's why many Georgia homeowners have switched to ductless systems. In a home without ducts, dust has fewer places to hide.
Additionally, dust attracts dust mites, which can serve as winter allergen triggers on their own. To protect yourself, wash your sheets and towels at least once a week. Consider covering your pillow with double pillow cases and buying new pillows each year. Additionally, you can get your mattress cleaned to guard against dust mites.
While many plants fall dormant during the winter, you can't escape pollen entirely. Several tree species continue to produce pollen, such as the box elder, green ash, and white ash. Additionally, ragweed can continue to prosper during mild winters, and ragweed serves as one of the most common allergens.
If you want to protect yourself, consider creating a no-shoes policy in your home. Family members and guests can track in pollen on the soles of their shoes, which means that you are exposed to the allergen even when you stay indoors. Additionally, clean or replace your HVAC regularly to remove allergens from the home.
Mold can thrive at any time of year. As long as you run your furnace or heat pump during the winter, mold can find a place to prosper. Your air conditioner's evaporator coils sometimes develop mold infestations because of the moisture. Additionally, you might find mold around plumbing installations, in the shower or bathtub, and behind the commode.
Check for mold at least once a month in the most probable places. If you find it, clean it with a bleach solution or contact a mold remediation service. Severe infestations can make you sick even if you don't have allergies or asthma, so take any mold spores you find seriously.
Live Christmas Trees
It's the most wonderful time of the year, but live Christmas trees aren't just festive. They may also trigger allergies because mold can develop in the water and between its branches. Additionally, trees are sometimes treated with chemicals that can cause allergic reactions.
To protect yourself, consider buying an artificial tree. Store it indoors after the holiday season so that it can't develop mold or accumulate dust. When you pull it out of storage, clean it thoroughly before you start the tree-trimming festivities. You'll protect your indoor air quality and prevent sneezing attacks while you're opening gifts Christmas morning.
Many people travel during the winter. They get away for a quiet week in a remote cabin or visit family members who live far away. When you travel, you expose yourself to new allergens that might trigger symptoms. Since your body has never encountered them before, it responds even more strongly to the irritants.
Talk to your doctor before you travel. He might recommend an allergy vaccination or a new medication that can protect you more effectively. While you're away, stay indoors as much as possible to insulate yourself from unfamiliar allergens.
You love your furry pets, but they continue to shed during the winter. If you're allergic to pet dander, you must take extra precautions to protect yourself. Consider getting your pets groomed regularly to remove loose fur and to clean their hair follicles. Additionally, vacuum and mop your home more often to pick up stray hair.
You might also vacuum soft surfaces, such as upholstered furniture. Consider keeping pets out of your bedroom and off furniture to reduce exposure.
Winter allergens can be problematic, but you can protect yourself. Search our directory for a Georgia HVAC contractor that can help improve your indoor air quality.