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Taming "Winter" Allergies

Indoor triggers can cause the symptoms we usually associate with spring. Here’s how to combat the sniffles.

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Identify the cause. If you or your child frequently show the classic signs of allergies, like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, visit a board-certified allergist. She’ll help you get to the root of the problem and will be able to suggest solutions.

Fight the dust mites. Some people are allergic to these microscopic critters who live in dust and are often found in bedding, mattresses, pillows, and carpets. Use mattress protectors made of finely woven material to prevent dust accumulation. Vacuum carpets often.

Put Fido out. Keep your cat or dog out of your bedroom if you’re allergic to animal hair. Symptoms get worse at night. Consider buying a high-efficiency furnace filter that will extract hair and dander particles from the air.

Get rid of mold. Cellars, attics, bathrooms, or other areas of the home that are often damp can be a breeding ground for the fungus. Keep bathrooms clean and dry and avoid letting damp clothes or towels pile up.

Clean carefully. Dust, animal hair, and mold can be stirred up when you sweep or vacuum. Consider wearing a N95 high-efficiency face mask to protect yourself against an allergic reaction.

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Source: James L. Sublett, M.D., chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology’s indoor allergy committee and chief of the Allergy & Immunology Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville

Photo Credit: GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Getty Images

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