Ah, the slower pace and nesting that come with winter. It’s nice, but all that time spent indoors can come with a downside. When most people are inside, there are often increased bouts of indoor allergies. There are a few unusual indoor allergens you should know about.
Winter Indoor Allergens
Some indoor allergens you may encounter during the winter aren’t the usual culprits such as dust, pollen and animal dander. Allergens you’ll likely encounter during this time of year come from candles and wood-burning fireplaces.
The smoke may cause symptoms such as runny nose or itchy eyes, and the fragrances or other substances in the candles could also cause problems as you breathe that in. The wood and other materials can contain irritants that release as the fire burns.
Other items that can cause problems are chemical-laden products like indoor air fresheners, laundry products and conventional household cleaners.
Mold is another substance that causes problems for many people, especially in humid climates. It can even infiltrate heating systems, so when heat is running when it’s chilly outside, the mold toxins can circulate throughout the home.
Symptoms of Indoor Allergies
Indoor allergies can cause serious problems for many people. Symptoms and health issues can include sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itching, breathing difficulties, rashes, headaches, fatigue and more, according to Mayo Clinic.
In the case of toxicity as with mold, the risks can be more severe, with symptoms ranging from digestive issues to possible neurological problems.
How to Keep Your Home a Welcome Place This Winter
Luckily, there is a lot you can do to prevent and manage indoor allergies and stay healthy during the winter months. For instance, use natural products as much as possible to avoid breathing chemical fumes indoors.
Try out essential oils such as lavender and lemon for air freshening, and opt for unscented and nontoxic laundry products. Also, choose natural or homemade household cleaners.
During cold weather, you can still open your windows to let in some fresh air even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you suspect a mold problem in your home, contact a qualified mold inspector right away.
Follow these strategies to help your family and guests stay healthy all year long. If you or your loved ones struggle with symptoms resulting from indoor allergens, contact your doctor or other qualified health practitioner for guidance and treatment.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.