You’re familiar with the fact that grass and pollen can trigger allergies, especially in the spring, but that doesn’t explain why some people seem to have allergy symptoms in the dead of winter when they’re spending most of their time indoors. Believe it or not, it could have to do with the heater in people’s offices and homes.
How is this so? Because, heat is actually a trigger for nasal issues, a major trigger. It can cause dryness, crusting, and nasal congestion. Just as you have to use extra moisturizers on your skin during the winter months, your nose needs the same extra TLC. Saline nasal spray can be a big helper during the winter months.
When It’s Not a Virus
When it’s really cold outside, we spend a lot more time indoors around other people. Sharing so much indoor space can lead to the spreading of germs and of cold and flu viruses. But if you’re experiencing a headache, sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose, your symptoms may not be the result of a virus.
If you’re experiencing symptoms for more than two weeks, it’s probably seasonal allergies, which could have more to do with your HVAC system than the bug that’s going around the office. But don’t just take it from us, here’s what Dr. Oz has to say about it:
“When the furnace turns on, it doesn’t just circulate warm air around the house – it spews out all the dust, mold and insect parts that have collected in the heating vents. If left unattended, this problem can lead to an entire season of headaches, sneezing and coughing. The solution is a simple one: heating vent filters should be high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters when possible, and should be changed at least once every 3 months,” says Dr. Oz and as HVAC specialists, we couldn’t agree more.
How to Prevent Allergies from Your Heating System
- Cleaning Your Air Filter - Regularly replacing your filters is important. The air in your home will continue to be contaminated with dust and dirt if you do not change the filters. As a result, the air quality in your home will decrease and allergies will worsen. What are the best furnace filters for allergies? Some doctors recommend using a permanent HEPA filter that can remove 90 percent of airborne particles. These filters are more effective than disposable filters.
- Routinely Cleaning Air Ducts - As well as collecting in your filters, dust also collects in your air ducts. Maintaining your HVAC system is crucial. This is a task best left to a heating and air conditioning technician. For proper air duct cleaning, your technician has the right tools and skill. An allergy sufferer shouldn't stay in the house when the technician is cleaning the air ducts.
- Purchasing a Humidifier - Furnaces tend to dry out the air in your house, which can irritate your throat and cause your eyes to dry out. An investment in a humidifier can prevent this from happening. Your home will stay at a manageable humidity level, which will help ease allergy symptoms. 35% to 50% humidity will be most comfortable.
- Routine Heater Maintenance - You should perform regular maintenance on your home's heating system not only so that it works as efficiently as possible, but it can also help to improve the air quality of your home, which is great for allergy sufferers. Whenever it's time to turn on your furnace, have a heating and cooling technician inspect everything and make sure that the filters and air ducts are free of allergens.