Tuesday, December 4, 2012

winter allergies

I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of my family being sick and tired.  We have two, especially, that just get sick or cough starting in the fall and don't stop it seems all winter long.
It occured to me that those two children are the ones with "winter allergies".

So, I did my research.
Here is some of the information that I found that I would love to pass on to you and hopefully it helps if you are one of the many of those that suffer from winter allergies.

Could I Be Allergic to my Christmas Tree?

 By , About.com Guide
Question: Could I Be Allergic to my Christmas Tree?
Answer: Think your allergies and asthma get worse once you bring that fresh pine tree indoors during the holidays? It may be more than just your imagination. People for years have suspected that along with that fresh pine scent, an indoor freshly-cut Christmas tree worsened allergy symptoms, but the reason wasn't completely clear. Possibilities included pollen, mold spores, dust mites from dusty ornaments and other Christmas decorations and strong odors emitted from the Christmas tree. A study on this subject appears to shed light on the issue: The problem is likely due to mold allergy. Researchers found that after 2 weeks of being indoors, a live Christmas tree in Connecticut emitted significant amounts of mold spores into the air. In fact, the amount of mold spores found in a home with a Christmas tree was nearly 10 times the amount of mold normally found inside. People who suffer from mold allergies may want to limit the amount of time a Christmas tree is kept indoors (such as less than 2 weeks), or consider using an artificial tree. 

Here's another link about this.

Well isn't this just dandy?!

The day after I post about our tree(s) I find out that our lovely, fresh cut, live Christmas tree could be a cause of all the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, runny noses and candy cane thieving going on in our house!

 One thing in our favor is that we bought the best furnace filter, you know the expensive one that filters out everything.

Next year we are going to have to re-think how long we have our tree up.  If after two weeks the mold spores are at their highest, maybe two weeks is long enough to have a tree up...

We'll see...

This information from WebMD is wonderful!
Winter Allergies

If you have pollen allergies, you may get a break when the weather gets cold. But if you have indoor allergies -- such as mold and dust mites -- spending more time indoors during the winter months may affect your allergy symptoms.

What causes winter allergies?

When it gets cold and your furnace kicks on, it sends dust, mold spores, and insect parts into the air. They can get into your nose and can trigger a reaction.
Some common indoor allergy triggers are:
  • Dust mites. These microscopic bugs flourish in mattresses and bedding. When their droppings and remains become airborne, they can cause allergy symptoms.
  • Mold. This fungus thrives in damp, humid areas such as basements and bathrooms. When mold spores get into the air, they can trigger allergy symptoms.
  • Animals. Most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in the pet dander, saliva, and urine.

What are the symptoms of winter allergies?

Allergy symptoms caused by dust, pollen, or mold include:
  • Coughing
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
How can you tell whether your symptoms are from a cold or flu or allergies? A cold usually doesn't last for more than 10 days. Allergies can linger for weeks or even months. Also, colds and flu sometimes have a fever and aches and pains -- symptoms that don't usually come with allergies.

How are winter allergies diagnosed?

If your symptoms last more than a week, see your doctor. He may refer you to an allergist who will ask about your health history and symptoms.
The allergist may do a skin test where he scratches your skin with a tiny bit of an allergen or injects it just under your skin. If the area turns red and itchy, you're allergic. There's also a blood test to diagnose some allergies.

What are the treatments for winter allergies?

Treatments for winter allergies include:
  • Antihistamines reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching.
  • Decongestants clear mucus to relieve congestion and swelling.
  • Allergy shots expose your body to gradually increasing doses of the allergen. They can reduce your symptoms for a longer period of time than allergy drugs.

How can I prevent winter allergies?

Here are tips for controlling your allergy symptoms:
  • Throw out shower curtains, wallpaper, or carpeting that have mold. Wash showers and sinks with a solution containing 5% bleach and a little detergent.
  • To help control dust mites and mold, use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in your home below 50%.
  • Use a HEPA air filter to clean dust from the air.
  • Wash bedding in hot water each week. Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, pillows, and comforters.
  • If someone in your household is allergic to pet dander, consider getting a non-furry pet, such as fish or a lizard. If you already have a cat or dog, don't let the pet sleep in your bedroom, and give it a bath at least once a week.
Here are tips to make the holidays easier if you have winter allergies:
  • Consider buying an artificial tree. Live trees can harbor chemicals and mold, which can trigger allergic reactions.
  • Wash dust off of ornaments before hanging them on the tree. Buy glass or plastic ornaments rather than fabric, which can collect more dust.
  • If you have a pet allergy and your relatives have cats or dogs, make sure to take your allergy medication with you and get your allergy shots beforehand.
  • Bring your own pillow when traveling.
 I also read up on side effects of Singulair and night terrors, ADHD type symptoms, aggressive behavior, depression etc., were reported by several parents of small children.  My seven year old was prescribed Singulair for fall/winter allergies when he was four...the same time some of these symptoms started.  If your child(ren) has been prescribed Singulair for allergies, it would be my humble opinion that natural remedies and allergen prevention and maintenance be the answer, not this particular drug.

I know that there is a fish tank in the boys room that is going to be cleaned after reading about fish tank mold allergies.

There's a 14 year old girl that might be getting a neti pot for Christmas and a stuffed animal-ectomy going on in our home. If they aren't machine washable, they are not sleeping with my child.

Hopefully these changes and this information will cut down on the misery caused by these fall/winter allergies.

 I'm off to the store to look at neti pots...


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