Can you get allergies in the winter?

12/05/2016

For some, allergies disappear when the snow starts falling and pollen production has stopped. But for others, it’s just another season of itchy, watery eyes and irritated throat and nasal passages. And, what’s the cause? Indoor allergens.

Indoor allergens are dust, dust mites, pet dander and indoor mold. As we spend more time indoors hiding from the cold weather, less natural air flows through your home to help remove these allergens, which can cause allergy symptoms.

So, what can you do to combat indoor allergens?

Pet dander

  • Reduce pet dander by bathing your pets a maximum of once a week—frequent bathing can dry out their coat and cause dry skin.
  • Keep animals out of the bedroom of anyone in the house who has allergies.

Dust and dust mites

  • On warm days when the pollen count is low, run the fan on your furnace for 15 minutes with all of the windows in your home open. This will help to blow any dust in the ventilation system out.
  • Regularly vacuum, dust and clean your vacuum’s filter will reduce dust mites.
  • Wash your family’s bed sheets weekly in hot, soapy water to kill dust mites.
  • Before pulling out all of your Christmas decorations from storage, dust them off in a well-ventilated area.

Mold

  • Use a humidifier to help add moisture to dry winter air. This will also soothe dry sinus passages; however, too much humidity is an ideal home for dust mites and mold. If your home is humid, speak with your pharmacist about the proper storage of your medications.
  • Properly clean your humidifier and maintain a proper humidity level in your home to eliminate the chance of mold growth.

Read: Reduce your Rx waste and safely dispose of your medication with these tips

You’ve done all you can to eliminate indoor allergens, but you still have allergy symptoms. Now what?

While there are many over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications that may work for you, it is always best to speak with your doctor or your pharmacist first. Some OTC allergy medications can cause side-effects and may negatively interact with any medications you may already be taking.

Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy pharmacists are available 24/7 to members to do a full review of all the medicines and supplements a member takes or is considering.

Read: A relentless commitment to patient-centred care

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