Harvard Women's Health
Ask the doctors
Question: I have terrible allergies every winter. What can I do to make them more tolerable this year?
Answer: Unlike fall or spring allergies, which are often responses to outdoor allergens, such as pollen or ragweed, most winter allergies are triggered by substances inside your home.
Common indoor allergens include dust mites, mold, and pet dander, and they can prompt a host of symptoms, from a runny nose and sneezing to a sore throat and itchy eyes.
While these indoor allergens are present year-round, allergies can flare up in the winter because you're cooped up in the house with the windows closed.
Your home's furnace may also be circulating these substances through the air once the heat kicks on.
There are some things you can do to cut down on allergy triggers;
First, change the filter on your home's furnace regularly.A properly functioning filter can trap allergens, reducing your exposure. Also try to keep your house clean.
Vacuum often, preferably with a device that has a HEPA filter, to contain the allergens as you clear them away.
Wall-to-wall carpeting can harbor allergy-inducing debris, so if it's in the budget, change to hard-surface flooring.
In addition, try to reduce humidity and moisture inside the house, because they can foster mold growth.
Ensure that bathroom fans are working to clear steam, and set up dehumidifiers in damp areas of your home, like the basement.
Improve bedroom air quality by investing in dust-reducing covers for pillows and mattresses,
and launder bedding often, preferably at least once a week.