MIAMI, FL – December 31, 2013 – For people with asthma and allergies, the holidays, which usually include busier schedules and colder weather, present challenges unique to winter season. Planning ahead for the holidays can make it a healthier and joyous one.
Top triggers of winter allergies include pets, mold and mildew, dust and dust mites and holiday décor. It’s important to wash your hands often specially after playing with pets. Most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in the pet dander, saliva and urine. Discard things with mold such as a shower curtain. Mold and mildew thrives in damp, humid areas in your home, such as the bathroom. Outside, decaying leaves and wet dirt also gives mold and mildew an ideal breeding ground, which leads to mold spores that can trigger allergy symptoms.
Keep dust down. Sweep and vacuum often to prevent house dust from settling on fabrics, rugs and carpet and on and under furniture. In addition wash bedroom sheets at least once a week to avoid dust mites. When dust and dust mite remains and droppings become airborne, they can cause allergy symptoms. Lastly, dust off holiday decorations before hanging them and spray live tree with water before bringing indoors to remove potential allergens.
“Switching to an artificial Christmas tree is the best option when avoiding tree related allergens,” said Dr. Adriana Bonansea Frances. “However, make sure it’s stored in a dry container because they too can harbor mold and dust when being stored in attics or damp basements year round”.
Recognizing Cold and Flu Symptoms
It’s important to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms. A cold is a milder respiratory illness that can make you feel bad for a few days. The flu can make you fill ill for a few days to weeks and can lead to serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.
The most important prevention measure for both colds and flu is to frequently wash hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds which helps to slough germs off the skin. In addition to hand washing, it is important to get a flu vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza. Within two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, antibodies develop in the body and provide protection against flu.
Seasonal flu activity starts by the end of October or the beginning of November and peaks by late December, lasting until February, depending on the weather. So, winter is challenging for people with asthma. The right attire for lower temperatures include a scarf or muffle over your face which will help keep winter winds from entering lungs and help protect from asthma episodes. In addition, have your rescue medication handy. You may use it 15 to 20 minutes before heading outdoors.
When winter hits, people spend a lot of time indoors therefore indoor air quality is also important. Clean and replace air filters including portable air cleaners that can help reduce allergic reactions to dander and mold. Treatments for winter allergies include antihistamine to reduce sneezing, sniffling and itching; decongestants to clear mucus and relieve congestion and swelling; saline solution to irrigate nasal passages and clear congestion. Depending on your allergies, allergy shots can help reducing the reactions to different allergens.
Tips to Allergy-proof your home:
Remove carpets, if possible.
Mop, vacuum and dust often. Use a wet cloth to clean instead of a broom. Wash showers and sinks to remove mold and mildew.
Discard shower curtains, wallpaper or carpeting that have mold.
Turn on exhaust fans when taking a shower or cooking to reduce humidity and odors.
Use dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels at 30-40 % to help control dust mites and mold.
Install high-efficiency furnace filters, which eliminate 30 times more allergens.
Use a HEPA air filter to clean dust from the air and a HEPA vacuum on carpets to reduce pet allergens and remove dust mites.
Wash bedding and pajamas in hot water twice a month. Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, pillows and comforters.
Bath pets and wash pet bedding each week. Keep pets out of the bedrooms.
Call a professional when combating mouse and insect infestations.
Wash your hands often, especially after playing with pets.
Take a shower or change clothes to remove allergens that may be clinging to you.
Avoid touching your face.
For more information on Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care, please visit www.florida-allergy.com or call 1-877-425-5374.
About Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for more than 38 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 18 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care Research conducts clinical trials on new medications. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction.