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Keep Fall and Winter Happy and Healthy for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers

By AAFA

For millions of allergy sufferers, “allergy season” doesn’t really end when warm weather leaves. With more time spent indoors where allergens like pet dander and volatile organic compounds linger, cold weather months can be just as unpleasant for people with allergies as spring and summer when pollen fills the air. The fall and winter can be particularly difficult, as we visit family and friends and welcome guests – and the allergens they bring with them – into our homes.

 

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“This can present a variety of challenges for asthma and allergy patients," says NYC allergist Dr. Cliff Bassett, an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). "Our indoor environment changes in many ways during the cooler months and during seasonal celebrations, from having new people in our homes to bringing in potential airway irritants (exposure to potpourri, scented candles, etc.) as well as introduction of dusty decorations." See an allergist for further advice about allergy triggers that may spoil your fun during the fall/winter season.

 

AAFA offers advice to help minimize allergy and asthma triggers in your home this time of year:

  • Most people store seasonal decorations in attics, basements or garages and they can pick up dust, mold and other irritants while in storage. Thoroughly clean all stored decorations before using them in your home. If one or more of these irritants is a trigger for you, wear a mask while cleaning. When you’re done with the decorations this year, clean them again before you seal them in plastic bags and store them in airtight containers.
  • If you or a loved one suffer from a tree or pollen allergy, artificial plants and foliage can be a less irritating substitute. If you will be using a live tree indoors you can reduce mold problems by thoroughly wiping the trunk with a solution of lukewarm water and diluted bleach (one part bleach to 20 parts water; use plenty of ventilation). Before you bring large outdoor plants inside, carefully use a leaf blower to remove pollen grains.
  • Scent-creating home accessories can be irritants. Limit the use of air fresheners like candles, oils and potpourri. If you really want to fill your home with a sweet aroma during a special occasion, try baking using naturally fragrant ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon or citrus.
  • A crackling fire can create a warm, festive mood for gatherings. To minimize potential irritation, don’t use wood-burning stoves or fireplaces at all. If you use a gas fireplace, check vents and use secured doors, rather than screens, to reduce smoke entering the room.
  • When choosing a gift or preparing a room for persons with allergies or asthma, keep their potential triggers in mind. For example, some children with asthma may be irritated by the materials commonly used in stuffed animals. Look for products that do not have sensitizing or allergenic chemicals such as formaldehyde. You can also find a list of allergy and asthma-friendly products on the AAFA website, www.aafa.org/certified.
  • When welcoming guests who have allergies or asthma, take preventative steps to help minimize irritants. Give your home a thorough cleaning (you probably would anyway) using cleaning products that can reduce allergens from hard surfaces, but do not use harsh, potentially irritating chemicals. You should vacuum using a high quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to reduce the chance of disturbing dust into the air. 
No one wants to experience an allergy or asthma attack during the fall/winter season. By taking steps to minimize irritants in your home environment, you can help ensure that all eyes are bright and faces are aglow with the excitement of good times with friends and family – and not because of allergies.

 

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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting allen@healthyhouseinstitute.com with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

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Keep Fall and Winter Happy and Healthy for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers:  Created on November 9th, 2011.  Last Modified on November 16th, 2012

 

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About AAFA

AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is a leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients’ rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures. Visit www.aafa.org.

 

 

Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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