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Control mold, dust and other allergens with these tips

The cold months can be a tough time for those with allergies, especially those sensitive to mold and dust.

“During the winter, families spend more time indoors, exposing allergic individuals to allergens and irritants like dust mites, pet dander, smoke, household sprays and chemicals, and gas fumes — any of which can make their lives miserable,” said Dr. William Reisacher, director of The Allergy Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, in a statement. “And with the lengthening of the pollen season over the past several years, people with seasonal allergies might find their symptoms extending even further into the winter months.”

Other doctors there noted that mold can grow anywhere there is moisture and oxygen.

They offer some tips to get sufferers through:

+Use the exhaust fan when cooking and showering to remove excess humidity and odors.

+Use a HEPA vacuum on carpet and a mop on floors to remove dust mites and pet dander.

+Wash your hands frequently to remove the flu and other winter viruses or after petting an animal.

+Kill dust mites in bed linens and pajamas by washing them in hot water.

+Consider banning pets, carpets and plants from your bedroom to reduce dust and mold. Use allergenic covers on your pillows and mattress.

+Dust your holiday decorations and hose down your tree before bringing it inside.

+Use high efficiency furnace filters and keep your furnace fan on.

+Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity between 30-40 percent.

+Change the water and filters in humidifiers to control mold.

+Survey the house once a month for mold-prone areas such as the wood pile close to the house.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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