You’d think we would get a break from allergies in the winter, but unfortunately for us Texans, that doesn’t happen. In winter, we are subjected to mountain cedar pollen, an allergen that affects us in the southern part of the state from December through March. And, even when mountain cedar isn’t the culprit, we can still experience winter allergens from Christmas trees and mold.
Read on for advice for surviving winter allergens, or any kind of irritating airborne particulates.
Managing Winter Allergens
To keep winter allergens from getting the best of you, adopt a comprehensive strategy for limiting exposure. That’s hard to do outside, but inside, there are a number of tactics you can take.
- Air seal your home. Sealing all the crevices, cracks and gaps that allow allergens to infiltrate your home not only improves your breathing, but will also improve your home’s energy efficiency. Use caulk, weatherstripping or insulation wherever air leaks in, such as cracks around windows and doors, through electric outlets and through holes in exterior walls for pipes, cables and wiring. Also check ductwork to make sure it is properly sealed
- Use a good quality air filter in your HVAC system. Choose a filter rated 8-12 on the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale, the standard rating protocol for air filter efficiency. A dense, pleated filter made of cotton and polyester fibers will do a better job of trapping the allergens that get stirred up in your home’s air. Electrostatic filters, which trap particles with an electric charge, are also effective at filtering particles out of the home’s air supply.
- Change your air filter often. A clean filter does a better job not only of trapping pollen but also mold spores.
- Daily practices for managing pollen include: brushing pets before bringing them indoors; removing shoes at the door; changing clothes after coming in the house; and vacuuming with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter every day.
To learn more about dealing with winter allergies, contact Bradbury Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning of The Woodlands. We also serve Magnolia, Montgomery and Oak Ridge North.