It’s February in Chicago – we’re buried under snow, the wind never stops, and now with the COIVID-19 pandemic we are spending even more time indoors out of the cold weather. Unfortunately, just because spring time and traditional allergy season seem far away, there are still many hidden indoor allergens within our homes that trigger the itchey and watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

The first and most important step in treating winter allergies is identifying your allergy triggers. Once you know what’s ailing you, then you can take steps to avoid and begin preventative measures. The most accurate and effective way to determine your allergens is to have a comprehensive allergy skin test performed.

In the meantime, you can take action to reduce your exposure to these allergens. Here are a few tips to help make the remaining winter months more bearable.

1. Wash your sheets weekly in hot water to get rid of dust mites. Temperature should be above 130 degrees F for effectiveness.

2. Use a humidifier to reduce dryness in the air. Keep your indoor humidity level between 30–40 percent with the help of a humidifier or dehumidifier, to help prevent the growth of mold and mites.
3. Invest in quality dust mite pillow and mattress covers.
4. Clean, dust and vacuum regularly, using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. If you have severe allergies and carpet in your bedroom, it may be time to consider switching to hard wood floors.
5. If you have a wood burning fireplace, you may want to rethink using it when you’re having a bad allergy day. Smoke from the wood fires can irritate your nose and especially the lungs in people with allergies and/or asthma.
6. Ban pets as much as you can from your bedroom and keep the door closed. Pet dander can linger in the house for months.
7. To minimize pet dander, bathe pets once a week (but no more than that) and wash your hands frequently, especially after playing with them.
8. Scrub mold out of sinks, tubs, garbage cans, window sills and fridges regularly.
9. Turn on the exhaust fan when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors.
10. Install high-efficiency furnace filters and make sure the furnace fan is always running.

If you are still experiencing severe allergies symptoms, give our office a call or schedule an appointment online.