Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if you have a cold or allergy. Symptoms are very similar. We don’t expect to have as many allergies in winter as we do in summer, but unfortunately allergies can happen any time of year. Closed up houses have dust mites, dander, mold spores and all sorts of particles to bring on sneezes and sniffles. Usually with colds you have fever, sneezes, sore throat, aches and pains. With allergies you have sneezes and a runny nose. Both colds and allergies can make you miserable.
It’s the time of year for colds and sniffles, but if you have allergies, it’s kind of hard to tell which it is. Colds usually come with fever and sore throat and tend to have congestion with yellowish mucus. Allergies produce runny, clear mucus and produce fits of sneezing. Believe it or not, fall and winter is a prime time for allergies, though we expect them in spring when pollen is flying. Winter brings dust mites, dander and mold in homes and they all contribute to allergies.
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It’s tempting to unpack our holiday decorations and mementos and put them to immediate use, but after a year of sitting on a shelf in the closet they are crawling with dust mites. If an item is washable, clean it in hot water. If it can’t get wet stick it in a freezer bag and freeze it for 3 to 5 hours. Dust mites can’t survive extreme temperatures or lack of air.
If you have allergies, being in the same house with a pet can make you miserable. 20 percent of people are allergic to pets. If you must keep a pet your doctor can advice you.
Don’t fake fresh air. Scented candles and potpourri might seem to freshen indoor air but 30 percent of people are allergic to products with added fragrance. A better way to have clean air is to open your windows for at least 20 minutes every day.
Don’t put up a Christmas tree early. Indoor mold spore counts climb every day a Christmas tree is in the house. Either get a artificial tree or put a real one up a day before Christmas if you have allergies.
Ditch shoes at the door. Walking through fallen leaves covers shoes with spores and they travel inside with you. Just walking across the floor releases millions of particals.
Washing pillow cases wont eliminate dust mites in pillows. Load your pillows in pairs to balance the washer and add two tennis balls slipped into sox to refluff in the dryer. If your pillows are stuffed with down, place them in the freezer for a few hours or stick them outside on a freezing day.