When it comes to allergies, the best allergy doctor Washington, DC has to offer will know that Winter can be just as aggravating as Spring, Summer, or Fall, bringing misery to those with sensitivities to dust mites, mold spores, cockroaches, and pet dander. If you have nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, itchy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, redness of the eyes, sinus congestion, headaches, and/or fatigue that just does not seem go away in the middle of winter, you may have a case of winter allergies. Spending more time at home means that you might be more exposed to molds, dust mites, cockroaches, and/or pet dander than you are in the warmer months, when you are outside more frequently.Before you step outside in the cold to avoid Winter allergies, consider following these 5 simple tips in order to prevent allergy symptoms inside your home.
1. Improve Your Bedroom Hygiene
If you suffer from allergy symptoms first thing in the morning, it is very possible that your bedroom has turned into a resort for dust mites. Dust mites tend to live in pillows, mattresses, box springs, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. Fight back by covering your pillows and mattress with allergy-proof (hypoallergenic) encasings. Then put your normal pillow case and sheets over the encasings. Wash your covers a few times a year, and your bed sheets every week, running them under the “hot” setting in your washing machine so that the water is greater than 130°F in order to kill the dust mites.
2. Install an Air Filter
High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) can be very beneficial for allergy sufferers. HEPA filters capture common allergens in the air that trigger allergy symptoms. Most filters are compact and can be installed in a corner of the room without attracting too much attention. They can also be hooked up to central HVAC systems which benefit the entire home.
3. Use a Hygrometer and a Humidifier
Dry and cold indoor air can worsen allergy symptoms by drying out and irritating your nasal passages and sinuses. On the other hand, too much humidification of the air in your home promotes mold growth and an increase in the dust mite population. Aim for middle ground by using a humidifier together with a hygrometer, which measures the level of humidity in the air. Optimally, you want your indoor humidity levels to hover between 35% to 45%.
4. Have your Dog Groomed Outside the House
While frequent bathing and brushing of your dog will minimize shedding of dander, grooming your pet at home may cause increased allergy symptoms on every bath day. Do yourself a favor by taking your dog to a groomer, at least for the duration of the Winter months.
5. Double Your Vacuuming
If you can not afford or refuse to remove your home’s carpeting, you should vacuum more to remove pet dander and dead skin cells that attract dust mites. You can use a HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaner, sweeping once or twice a week.
If your Winter allergies are affecting the quality of your life in a serious way, it may be time to consult the professional services of an allergy specialist Washington, DC has to offer. The board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy have been diagnosing and treating both adults and children with allergies, asthma, and immunologic disorders in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area for over 50 years. In addition to our Washington, DC office, we have offices in McLean, VA (Tysons Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA. All 3 of our offices offer on-site parking. The Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible and there is a free shuttle between the McLean, VA office and the Springhill metro station on the silver line. Please call us for an appointment at 703-790-9722 or alternatively you can click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours by the next business day to have the best allergy doctors Washington, DC has to offer to help you alleviate your unwanted allergy symptoms.