Allergies are commonly known to be caused by outdoor elements such as pollen, grass and trees, which most people are exposed to during the spring, summer and autumn seasons.
No matter the season or cause, various allergies present with symptoms which include a stuffy or runny nose, itchy, wa-tery eyes, sneezing and coughing.1
So what could be causing your winter allergies? There are a number of indoor culprits that act as allergens.
Dust mites- The most common indoor allergen. They thrive in carpets, bedding and upholstered furniture in the home. This is why some people may notice allergy symptoms immediately after sweeping or dusting the house.
You can reduce dust mites in your home by making changes such as choosing wooden flooring instead of carpets or us-ing mite proof pillow or mattress covers. Washing your linen regularly in hot water can also help.1,2
Mould- Mould is a common occurrence inside and outside any home. For people with allergies, this can cause sneezing, congestion and itchiness. Mould thrives in moist places such as kitchens and bathrooms, and can cause allergic reactions or worsen an asthma attack.
To reduce exposure to mould, one should wear a mask when doing any garden chores and take a shower once back inside the house. Cleaning up spills and leaks in the kitchen and cleaning garbage bins and fridge drawers will also go a long way in reducing the amount of mould in the home.1.2
Pet dander- Dander is dead skin that flakes off of our beloved household pets such as cats and dogs. It doesn’t af-fect most people, however for some allergy sufferers, this can cause an allergic reaction.
To avoid a pet allergy, try to keep pets out of your bedroom, cleaning your hands after playing with them and bathing your pets once a week.1,2
Cockroach Droppings- Cockroaches can live anywhere within the home. It is therefore important to try keep them at bay by fixing leaky faucets and pipes, sealing up cracks and crevices, keeping food well-contained and cleaning up any crumbs that may fall on the floor.2
Although it is not possible to get rid of winter allergens completely, one can attempt to reduce them.2
The allergens listed above cause allergies which present the aforementioned symptoms, however they can also trig-ger allergic asthma attacks. Asthma symptoms are slightly different to allergy symptoms, and include wheezing, coughing that is unrelated to a cold, shortness of breath, especially during exercise and tightness in the chest.3
For more information speak to your Healthcare Practitioner. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the Adcock Ingram OTC range of allergy medications.
1. acaai.org. Winter allergies: The allergies you didn’t know you could have. November 26, 2018. https://acaai.org/news/winter-allergies-allergies-you-didnt-know-you-could-have. (accessed 18 April 2020)
2. Briley J. Winter allergies: What causes them and how you can get relief. 2/5/2018. https://www.everydayhealth.com/allergies/managing-allergies/winter-allergy-symptoms.aspx (accessed 18 April 2020)
3. National Institute of Environmental health sciences, Kids health. Asthma and allergies, and their environmental triggers. 06 January 2017. https://kids.niehs.nih.gov/topics/pollution/asthma-and-allergies/index.htm
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