If you suffer from indoor allergies, winter can be the most difficult season of the year. Mold, dust mites, and pet dander all accumulate in your home during winter. In addition, you may be stuck indoors due to cold weather, upping your exposure time to these allergens.
The best way to avoid winter allergies is to ID your allergy triggers so you can avoid them as best you can. To find out what you are allergic to, have an allergy test done by Dr. Shukla, your allergy doctor in New York.
Whether or not you are sure of exactly what you are allergic to, you can take steps to avoid the most common indoor allergens during wintertime. These are dust mites, pet dander, and mold.
Dust mites live on the dead skin that your body sheds. Arm yourself with an allergen-reducing mattress protector and make sure to wash your sheets weekly in hot water to kill any invaders.
“Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers [AmericanLungAssociation.]”
If you notice you have an allergic reaction to your pets, make it a rule to keep them out of the bedroom. If you still have a problem, it may mean you shouldn’t have pets in your home at all. Consult with Dr. Shukla, your allergy doctor in New York, to find out if having pets at home is the right choice for you.
Mold grows in moist and damp environments like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. If you intend to protect the air in your home from mold spores, you should regularly scrub your refrigerator, trash cans, sinks, tubs, and floors to minimize build-up.
Although smoke itself is not a known allergen, sitting by the fire and inhaling the woody smoke can further irritate allergic airways and worsen an allergic reaction.
Food Allergies During the Holidays
Since food is so central to the winter holidays, gatherings can be difficult to manage for people with food allergies. Don’t be shy about asking for the ingredients in every dish you try and be wary of cross-contamination issues. If you are not confident that others can provide allergy-free foods, just bring your own. People will understand!
Christmas Tree Allergies
Many people are sensitive to the scent of their Christmas trees, even though they are not allergic to the trees themselves. If you find yourself coughing, sneezing, or short of breath around the tree, you could be experiencing this. It could also mean the tree is harboring microscopic mold spores which are irritating your airways and lungs.
“If you must have the real thing, let the tree dry in a garage or enclosed porch for a week and give it a good shake prior to bringing it inside [aaaai.org.]” Or, you could save yourself the trouble and just buy an artificial tree. Your allergy doctor in New York, Dr. Shukla, can help you determine if you are allergic to your Christmas tree.
“The Thanksgiving Effect”
When you go away for the holidays and leave your pet at home, you may return to find you are more allergic to your little friend than ever before. This is known as “The Thanksgiving Effect.” It happens “when a person loses tolerance to her own pet after being away from it for a few days [aaaai.org.]”
The holidays can be a stressful time; stress can cause asthma and other breathing problems by constricting your airways and making it difficult to breathe. Try to incorporate relaxing “me time” activities like yoga and massage into your routine. Dr. Shukla, your allergy doctor in New York, treats asthma as well as allergies!
Allergy Doctor in New York
Dr. Mayank Shukla specializes in asthma, pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine. As your allergy doctor in New York, Dr. Shukla uses a personalized, empathic approach to give you and your children the best health care possible. Dr. Shukla has offices in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan. Contact Dr. Shukla Today.