Because of the global epidemic, we are all trying not to leave the house when it is not possible. Stating that some allergic symptoms and an increase in the risk of developing allergies may occur during our stay at home, Professor of Allergy and Asthma Association. Dr. Ahmet Akçay explained the measures that could be taken.
What Causes Allergies During Winter?
During the winter months, especially during the global epidemic, when everyone cares to stay at home, more time is spent at homes. This causes more exposure to indoor allergens. Many indoor allergens such as airborne dust particles, dust mites, pet dander, molds, cockroaches can trigger allergies. While these triggers increase symptoms in people with allergies, they pose a risk for people who do not have allergies.
What Are These Triggers and Where Are They Located?
The most common of the indoor allergens are dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic little insects found in every home. Dust mites can be found on bedding, carpets, linens, plush toys, and anywhere that contains fabric. Humid areas such as bathrooms and kitchens are also suitable places for mold spores to breed, and these molds are unfortunately invisible to the naked eye. We all breathe mold spores, but for allergy sufferers, exposure to mold spores can trigger sneezing, nasal congestion and itching. Another of the indoor allergens is cockroach feces. Cockroaches can live anywhere regardless of the hygiene of the house, and because they do not like light, they usually appear at night. Cockroaches contain a protein that is allergenic to many people. Body parts, saliva and waste of cockroaches are allergens. Even dead cockroaches can cause allergic reactions. Pet hair is also an indoor allergen. Exfoliates, saliva and some other substances in pet's fur can cause allergies and worsen existing allergies. House dust mite allergens are an allergen that is a problem in cities by the sea or in homes in cities near the sea. House dust mite allergens generally cannot survive in areas such as Konya and Urfa, which are far from the seaside and have arid weather.
What are the Symptoms of Indoor Allergies?
Symptoms and severity of indoor allergies can vary from person to person. In some people, these symptoms may be severe enough to affect the flow of daily life. Symptoms can be listed as follows:
- Runny or stuffy nose,
- Itching in the eyes, throat, ear,
- Difficulty in breathing due to nasal congestion,
- Dry cough can sometimes be sputum,
- Skin rash, itching.
These symptoms may be more severe in people with asthma. Asthma symptoms such as cough and wheezing can be triggered.
What Can Be Done To Protect?
It can be a little difficult to avoid exposure to winter allergens. Especially in this period when we should not all go out and stay at home as much as possible. However, some precautions can reduce the risk and the severity of symptoms. These measures include:
Ventilate your home frequently.
Use hypoallergenic covers for mattresses, mattresses and pillows, including your pillows and mattresses, to keep dust mites out for those with house dust mite allergies.
Reduce fabric areas
If you are allergic to house dust mites, it will be useful to remove the carpet or air conditioners in the bedroom and to remove the plush toys. It would be more appropriate for children with allergies to have a non-textile play mat in their bedroom.
Wash your clothes with hot water
To reduce dust mite, regularly wash your clothing, bedding and removable upholstery covers in hot water at least 60 degrees. Avoid the use of carpets as much as possible.
Balance the humidity of the air
If there is air dryness in cities far from the seaside, you can use a humidifier to reduce air dryness, an ideal humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. You should do a controlled humidification because the humidity is too high, preparing the ground for the growth of mold and house dust mite mites. It will be more beneficial to ventilate the room by opening the window instead of using a humidifier in cities such as Istanbul and Izmir.
Make sure your home is not leaking water
To prevent moisture from accumulating and creating an environment for dust mites, mold or cockroaches to thrive, constantly check your home's wet floors and make sure there are no water leaks.
Vacuum your house
Vacuum your house regularly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove most allergen particles from most surfaces.
Seal cracks or openings in your doors, windows or walls where cockroaches can get in or outside air can get in.
Reduce contact with your pet
Try to reduce contact with your pet as much as possible and keep your pet away from areas where you spend most of your time. Prevent pets from entering the bedroom.
Pay attention to cleaning products
It will be beneficial to use odorless and chlorine-free cleaning materials to clean the surfaces of the house and to use odorless or low-odor detergent and softener for the laundry. Because the lungs and noses of those with allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis are very sensitive to smell.