Breathe Easier This Winter - AvMed

Watch out for these four common winter allergy and asthma triggers

African-America Woman holding a cat.

The springtime is famous as the season of allergies. And it’s no wonder, with newly blooming trees, freshly mowed lawns, and spring breezes to spread the allergens far and wide. Better for asthma and allergy sufferers to be holed up in winter, tucked safely away from the outdoors and all the irritants that lurk there, right?

If only it were so easy. In fact, the winter comes with its own host of triggers to be ready for in the great indoors. Here are some of the key allergy and asthma irritants to watch out for when the cold temperatures set in:

1. Mold

Mold knows no season. It can grow anywhere that’s damp, meaning kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and garages. Keep these areas scrubbed, making a point to touch them up once a week. No major chemicals are necessary either: Simple items like dishwashing liquid, baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and lemon juice will do the trick in most instances.

2. Dust mites

These irritants tend to gather where we sit or sleep. Be sure to wash linens and sheets once per week using the hot-water cycle. In addition, look into cleaning your ducts and switching out any air filters (including the one in your vacuum, if it has one).

3. Pet dander

In the winter, we spend a lot of time inside with our dogs and cats, meaning more contact with their dander. Coupled with recirculating air, this can intensify your allergic or asthmatic reaction. Unfortunately, this means you may have to keep your pets out of your bed, while also vacuuming regularly. Switch out old throw rugs as well.

4. Smoke

Of course, smoking is a bad idea if you have allergies. You’ll also want to watch out for that cozy fireplace, which can add to the irritants in your home. Keep the fires to a minimum, and be sure to get the chimney swept before the season starts.

 

Did you know? Here’s another reason to get a step ahead of stress: The body’s stress response — faster heart rate, tense muscles, and shallow, fast breathing — can trigger a flare up for those who are affected by asthma.