During the winter months in Rincon, Georgia, allergy sufferers might think they’re off the hook. However, different allergens tend to pop up, causing unpleasant symptoms throughout the entire season. Manage your allergies this winter by following a few simple tips to keep contaminants out of your home.

Allergies or a Cold?

Many people come down with colds during the winter months, when the virus is in full force. Before you start treating your allergies, make sure to figure out whether your symptoms are coming from allergens or a cold virus. Common symptoms of a cold include congestion, sore throat, and a cough, while allergies tend to cause itchy eyes and nasal congestion.

You might get a sore throat due to drainage, but most people with allergies won’t experience coughing, while a cold doesn’t cause the eye issues. When your body is fighting a cold, you might also get a fever or experience body aches, which are clear signs of a virus.

Use an Air Purifier

If you’ve determined that you’re definitely suffering from allergies, start treating the air you breathe to improve the indoor air quality and eliminate contaminants. An air purifier can make a big difference, especially when you use the right one for your home. A whole-house air purifier is a bigger investment, but it works with your cooling and heating system to pull contaminants out of the air before it moves through the vents.

If you have a smaller budget, try a single-room air purifier, which will eliminate up to 99 percent of allergens from the air. Use it in your bedroom to improve the air quality as you sleep.

Winter Duct Cleaning

Another good way to improve the indoor air quality in your home is to bring in a professional to perform a duct cleaning. As your HVAC system runs, it pulls air through the registers and into the heating or cooling chamber. The air often contains dirt, dust, pollen, and other contaminants, which can settle in the ducts. Over time, the ducts get overloaded with debris, requiring the system to work harder to move air and maintain a comfortable temperature. The air often contains those contaminants when it comes through your vents, which can further aggravate your allergies.

During a duct cleaning, a technician will use a high-powered vacuum to eliminate the dirt, pollen, and other debris. He can also use a sanitizing spray to kill any mold spores growing in the ducts, which can occur with high moisture levels. Mold is a common allergen that causes symptoms during the winter months, especially when it’s growing undetected in your home. An allergy to mold can cause congestion, headaches, and sore throats, and these symptoms tend to disappear when you leave the home.

Allergy-Proof Your Home

You can also take some steps to allergy-proof your home to keep winter allergies under control. Start by doing some deep cleaning, including vacuuming and mopping the floors and dusting all surfaces. When you have curtains in your room, take them down and wash them or clean them a few times a month. If you suffer from allergies to your pets, bathe them regularly and keep them off your bed. If you play with your dog or cat, wash your hands or take a shower before you head to bed for the night.

As part of your cleaning, pull the sheets and blankets off your bed and wash them in very hot water. Dust mites tend to live in bedding, towels, and other linens, so using water that is at least 130 degrees will kill the mites. After you finish the load, encase pillows and blankets in covers to prevent dust mites from coming back. If you’re still suffering, consider replacing the carpet in your home with hard flooring. Carpet fibers trap dust, mites, and other allergens, which get stirred up regularly.

With the right steps, you can minimize winter allergies. Stay healthy all winter by calling our HVAC experts at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning at 912-373-8447 to schedule a duct cleaning service or other HVAC services.

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