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Indoor allergens thrive during winter, doctors warn

Category: Allergy Testing

Though hay fever sufferers may breathe a sigh of relief at the end of summer and fall when the high-pollen seasons finally wane, colder temperatures and indoor allergens associated with winter can introduce a whole new set of problems, which may encourage some to undergo allergy testing.

As people in cold-weather areas head indoors for the season, they often face an increased exposure to mold, dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke and household sprays, all of which can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

"Allergy to mold spores can be more of a problem than pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and is not limited to a single season," said Dr Michael Stewart, chairman of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

He added, "It needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive."
To minimize the impact of allergens during winter, Dr David Resnick of the Allergy Division at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian recommends keeping indoor humidity levels below 35 percent to thwart the spread of mold and dust mites.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that about 40 million Americans experience indoor or outdoor allergies as their primary allergic symptom.

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