How to combat winter allergies in the home
We may think of the summer as being a bad time for allergy sufferers, but according to the NHS, the number of people suffering from winter allergies hit record levels.
But although Jack Frost may be nipping at our noses outside, it’s not actually the cold weather to blame for symptoms such as sneezing and nasal congestion. In fact, experts from Allergy UKbelieve it’s the way we tuck ourselves up inside our homes at this time of year that’s the real cause for the huge increase in cases of perennial allergic rhinitis.
Spokesperson for Allergy UK Lindsey McManus said that it’s our winter habits of closing windows and turning the heating up that encourages a warm, humid environment – the perfect conditions for dust mites, pet dander and mould spores to flourish. So prevalent is the condition that Allergy UK has dubbed ‘home fever’ as the new hayfever and estimates that it affects up to 12 million people.
While there is no 'cure' for the allergy, there are thankfully plenty of ways to reduce the amount of indoor allergens in your home:
Replace your mattress regularly
According to Allergy UK, over half of those suffering from indoor allergies said their symptoms were worse in the bedroom. No surprise when you consider our mattresses can harbor up to two million house dust mites. Evict the critters by replacing your mattress every eight to ten years, and consider covering it with an anti-allergy mattress protector.
Wash your bed linen once a week
Dust mites can only be killed off by washing at high temperatures, so set your machine to 60 degrees when cleaning your bedding. If it’s your child who suffers from the allergy, limit the number of soft toys they take to bed with them.
Use anti-allergy pillows and bedding
Those of a nervous disposition look away now! The average pillow doubles in weight over six months due to dust mite faeces. Consider replacing your pillows every year, and buy the anti-allergy variety.
Steam clean sofas, carpets and curtains
Steaming at high temperatures will remove both mite faeces and pet dander. In fact, if you own a pet and are in the market for some new living room furniture, consider buying armchairs or sofas made of leather upholstery. These can just wipe clean, making them so easy to keep free of dust and pet hairs.
If you suffer from allergies, invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (or high efficiency particulate air) filter. Also known as S-Class, these clever machines retain even the smallest of allergy-causing particles.
Change the way you dust
Swap your normal dry duster for a damp cloth to effectively pick up all the particles, rather than just move them around.
Swap curtains and blinds for shutters
Wooden shutters not only look fantastic, they’re great for allergy suffers too. Dust can’t penetrate the hard wood in the same way it gets stuck inside curtain fabrics, and panels can simply be wiped down, too.