How to ease winter's indoor allergies
If you have a tickly nose and frequent sneezes when you're indoors, don't stifle it. One man in England did just that, and according to the report in the journal BMJ Cases, he tore a hole in his windpipe. A better move: Get rid of the offending allergens. They commonly include dust mites, cockroaches, mold and pets, and can lurk in bedding; carpets and rugs; humidifiers and dehumidifiers; cupboards and corners; even kids' stuffed animals. To reduce a winter indoor allergy, using an air filter and a vacuum cleaner with small-particle HEPA filters can help; so can allergy shots (immunotherapy). Then:
To counter dust mite allergies:
-- Enclose mattresses, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof covers or zippered plastic covers.
-- Wash bedding weekly in 130 degrees or warmer water; dry on high heat.
-- Have washable or dry-cleanable throw rugs.
-- Dust furniture and clean upholstery regularly.
For pet allergies:
-- Get immunotherapy and remember dander and saliva trigger cat and dog allergies, but urine from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs can also be the culprit -- so don't clean the cages yourself.
-- Repair leaks and drips. Keep humidifiers clean.