Allergies aren’t just a summertime problem. Winter allergies are often overlooked, but they’re very real. And they’re nearly impossible to escape when you’re closed up inside with the mold, dust, dander and cleaning chemicals that can set them off!
But you can finally get some relief from the sniffling, sneezing, coughing and itching and you don’t have to turn to drugs to do it. You can manage your winter allergies naturally and enjoy the season rather than muddle through it.
1. Wash your face and hands regularly:
Sure you’re probably already washing your hands to avoid germs but it’s a good idea to rinse your hands AND face more often to wash away winter allergens, too. When you splash your hands and face with water several times a day you’re keeping the allergens away from your nose and eyes where they’re most likely to trigger bothersome symptoms.
2. Take a shower, or bath:
At the first sign of trouble—be it a clogged up nose or a tickly throat—pop into a warm shower or bath. Not only will you rinse the allergens away, but the steam from the hot water can help open up your sinuses. Add menthol or eucalyptus to the bath for an added boost.
3. Bathe pets once a week:
If you’re allergies are triggered by dander it’s important to keep it under control. Giving Fido or fluffy a weekly bath is the best way to do that. Just be sure to use a gentle organic shampoo (check in with your vet for some advice) and don’t bathe your pet more than once a week because that can dry out their skin making them miserable and creating even more allergens for you to deal with.
4. Wash or replace shower curtains:
Most folks overlook their shower curtains when hunting down allergy triggers. But the same relaxing steam that can make you feel better can turn your shower curtain into a breeding ground for winter allergies. Wash the outer curtain (if you have one) and the liner regularly. And replace your liner at least once a year, or more often if you notice any signs of mold.
5. Invest in the right bedding:
If your allergy prone it’s best to avoid down pillows and comforters. As luxurious as they feel, not only are they an allergen magnet, they can be allergens in their own right. Stick to hypoallergenic bedding. And wash your sheets once a week in hot water to purge the allergens and kill dust mites.
6. Humidify or dehumidify:
Depending on where you live humidifying or dehumidifying your home can slash your allergy symptoms. If your house is too dry, you get dust. If it’s too humid, you get mold. Aim for anywhere between 30 percent and 50 percent humidity and you’ll be in the sweet spot for managing winter allergies.
7. Keep your humidifier clean:
Humidifiers are great appliances that can really help control your allergy symptoms, but you have to be sure to keep the water in them fresh. If you don’t follow the instructions and change the water regularly, they can begin to grow mold and become a source of more allergy miseries.
8. Stay hydrated:
Keeping yourself hydrated is critical when managing winter allergies. We naturally tend to drink less when it’s cold outside and this can backfire on us. Make sure you’re still drinking plenty of water, and load up on fruits and veggies that are typically packed with water too.
9. Use saline for sinuses:
If your allergies have you stuffed up you don’t have to reach for over the counter, addictive nasal sprays. Try a simple saline solution instead. A saline rinse can help soothe irritated sinuses and clear out the congestion.
10. Dust the right way:
If you have winter allergies it’s important to dust often to remove the irritants that are triggering your symptoms. But it’s also important to dust the right way. Use a damp rag or mop to make sure you pick up the dust, not just spread it around.
11. Air it out:
Yes, it’s cold out there but take advantage of more temperate days to air the house out. Opening up your windows blows the old dusty air out and allows fresh air in.
Winter allergies are annoying, but they don’t have to make you miserable. Keep them under control with these simple drug-free solutions instead.