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Winter Allergies: They're Real

How to recognize them and cope

SATURDAY, Jan. 18, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Allergies don't just make people miserable in the fall, spring and summer. Winter is a time for suffering, too.

Molds are a primary culprit, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. In some warm areas, they grow and thrive year-round, but even in cold climates, molds growing indoors can make your nose run.

It isn't the mold itself but the spores that are released into the air that cause problems.

In winter, other indoor allergens can proliferate, become airborne and stick around, especially with doors and windows shut. Offenders include animal dander and dust mites. Around the holidays, Christmas trees, both real and fake, can also set people off sneezing.

To stay sniffle-free, try to get rid of the allergens. For mold, that can mean cleaning with bleach. Try a solution of 5 percent bleach and a small amount of detergent to 95 percent water to clean household areas, advise experts from the academy.

If mold is visible -- in carpeting or wallpaper, for example -- it's best to remove the materials.

Try to keep a humidity level of 30 percent or 40 percent in the house to make conditions for mold growth less optimal.

To control animal dander, have a family member who's not allergic groom the animal frequently. Keep animals out of the bedroom of the affected person.

To control dust mites, clean and dust more frequently. Change bed linens often. Dust off the artificial tree before decorating it.

More information

More details on allergies are at the National Jewish Medical & Research Center.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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