Tips for winter allergy sufferers

Spring and summer aren’t the only seasons that can bring misery to allergy sufferers. People with some allergies often struggle in the winter.

Seven-year-old Jacob Shufro suffers from allergies. He says he is “really allergic to cats and trees.”

Jacob’s 5-year-old brother, Bryce, has allergies as well. Bryce says he’s allergic to dust.

Although most people talk about allergy season as the time when there’s a lot of pollen outside, winter is nothing to sneeze at.

Dust, mold and pets can make things unbearable this time of year.

“As people spend a bit more time in the home, they’re going to begin to see an increase in those kind of year-round allergies,” said Dr. Sebastian Lighvani, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell.

A Christmas tree could be a big culprit for all that itching and sneezing. Ornaments are often dusty, and researchers say within days trees will send mold spores into the air.

“As the Christmas tree decays, [again] you’re going to get a higher concentration of mold released by that Christmas tree into the home,” said Dr. Lighvani.

Even without a tree, however, allergies can flare when everyone spends more time inside, but there are some things you can do.

Humidity is a breeding ground for mold and mites. Allergy sufferers should use a de-humidifier and an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom.

Keeping pets and their dander out of the bedroom will also help reduce allergy flare-ups.

The Shufro’s take additional steps to control their allergies.

“We change their sheets three times a week,” said Jennifer Shufro. “We have encased their beds, [and] we don’t have carpets in their rooms.”

She also limits the number of stuffed animals, which can carry dust and mites.

It’s a small price to pay in order to breathe a little easier.

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