During the months of October, November and December we often start getting symptoms that might resemble the flu. If you notice that your sinus cavities feel swollen and you can’t breathe out of your nose, and you have a cough and feel under the weather, you might not have the flu, but you might be suffering from winter allergies.
During the summertime we know when we are suffering from allergy symptoms. We know when we are sensitive to pollen and other substances in the air. However, we don’t always know when we might be suffering from winter allergies. I used to think I suffered from colds in the winter. Every winter I had a stuffy nose, coughing and wheezing, but I never knew I had an allergy until my doctor told me what was going on with me.
My doctor suggested that I get an air filter to help keep the air I breathe as clean as possible. No matter how careful you are when you dust, you are going to stir up particles. I live in an old house; it gets dusty rather quickly. Aside from my usual dusting, it is important for me to keep the air clean in the house. When I clean the filter of the air purifier, I am always amazed at how black it is. The air filter catches particles in the air that would have found their way into my respiratory tract. I have a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t use a bag. It has a cup that you empty. Every time I use it to vacuum my bed or the floors, I empty it so that I can see the fresh dirt that I am getting up each time.
You would think with enough vacuuming that eventually there would be no more dust, but that’s not so. However, the air is full of bacteria and mold spores. The air is full of dust mites; those mites live their entire life feeding on skin cells, and when they die they become part of the dust in the air.
Where does dust come from?
Dust is airborne and it comes in with us every time we open the door. Not only is that, but a lot of dust generated by us. We shed skin cells everywhere we go; these skin cells are light enough to become airborne.
As long as we are alive, we are going to be generating a steady supply of dust particles in the air. If you happen to be allergic to dust, then it is important to clean the air in your home environment. Your home can look neat and tidy; the floors and surfaces may look clean, but if the air isn’t clean, the particles in your home’s air environment can make you very sick. Harmless particles of dust can be perceived by your immune system as hostile invaders. As a result, your immune system floods your body with histamine, which causes an allergic reaction. For me, dust causes me to have bad sinus problems, wheezing and severe asthma symptoms.
Dust also comes from our furnace ducts. It comes from the ashes generated from the fire in your fireplace. Dust comes from the dander on our pets. It’s important to bathe our dogs on a regular basis to keep the dander down. I wash my dog once a month with oatmeal shampoo, which seems to sooth my dog’s skin. When he isn’t scratching his skin, he isn’t scattering so much of his dander in the air.
I’m not the only one who seems to have cold symptoms all winter long. If you are persistent in keeping the dust out of your home, and your symptoms disappear, you may have been suffering from a winter allergy.