Keep allergies under control this winter

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Now autumn is well and truly upon us it’s a great time to start thinking about how you can reduce your exposure to household allergy triggers before the really cold weather arrives. More than 7 million Aussies have allergies, including nearly everyone with asthma, which is often triggered in winter when we spend more time indoors with those nasties like mould and dust mites.

Firstly, make sure you are medically prepared for winter. So see your doctor for an asthma or allergies review, keep taking your asthma preventer every day if you are prescribed one, get a flu shot and discuss what allergy triggers have the most impact for you.

Once you know what your personal triggers are, there are some simple steps you can take to make a real difference to your health as well as to the environment.
Indoor heating is a big concern and not just because heating can dry the air and irritate your airways.  Un-flued gas heating in particular is unhealthy and, in some cases, dangerous for people with asthma. Wood fires are also not suitable for anyone with respiratory problems. Flued heaters and filtered reverse-cycle air-conditioning are better options.

Here are some great tips to help you breathe easier during the colder months:

  • Replace any un-flued gas heating
  • Make sure you have enough natural ventilation, including an extractor fan for the bathroom
  • Do a thorough clean while the weather is still good enough to air the room well during and after cleaning
  • Seal any leaks in bathrooms and roofs to reduce mould
  • Simplify your bedding to get rid of potential dust-mites reservoirs – remove extra cushions and soft toys, as well as pillows, quilts or underlays that are not resistant to mould and dust mites (MiniJumbuk wool products are perfect to use in winter as they are resistant to mould and dust mites)
  • Wash your sheets and pillow cases weekly in hot water – don’t forget to wash your pet’s bedding too
  • Keep up your good habits – vacuum carpets and soft furnishings weekly, using a good quality vacuum cleaner
  • Use high-efficiency air filters – these may be integrated in air-conditioning, heat-recovery ventilation systems, or in stand-alone air purifiers; air purifiers with an activated carbon filter will remove VOCs from the air.

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