Managing seasonal allergies can be quite bothersome, especially during winter. However, when it’s cold outside, your symptoms might have more to do with your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) than the air outside. Most homeowners assume that outdoor pollution is the culprit, but indoor pollutants can be just as harsh, if not harsher, on your health.
At Channell Heating & Cooling, we want to help you understand the difference between run-of-the-mill allergies and poor IAQ symptoms so that you can pinpoint the cause of your health issues. Read on to learn more about winter’s effect on both allergies and air quality and how air testing can help!
Common Seasonal Allergies
Although outdoor pollen is the most common trigger year-round, winter allergies are usually in response to indoor allergens. With colder temperatures encouraging families to spend more time inside, exposure to these allergens increases. Some indoor allergens that can trigger your winter allergies include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Hazlehurst Allergy Symptoms
Typically, Mississippi winters are temperate but can still bring about severe allergies. Some of the most common allergy symptoms include:
- Stuffy/runny nose
- Itchy eyes/throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry cough
Unfortunately, most allergy symptoms correspond with many adverse health effects of poor indoor air quality. Therefore, it can be challenging to determine the cause of your condition, especially during winter when IAQ decreases.
How Winter Affects Indoor Air Quality
When temperatures drop, so does IAQ due to the density of cold air. It’s much denser than warm air and, as a result, sinks while warm air rises. When cold air settles, it creates a sort of blanket trapping pollutants underneath. This blanket of cold air makes it difficult for such contaminants to disperse and escape.
Additionally, your winter habits tend to contribute to indoor pollution as well. In order to gain heat, you might utilize your furnace or fireplace more regularly, which releases toxic carbon monoxide fumes. You may also shut all doors and windows to help keep the cold air outside and warm air inside. However, this lack of ventilation allows indoor pollutants to recirculate and multiply.
With more time spent at home, you might clean more often, which generally helps improve IAQ. Yet, most home cleaning products and air fresheners emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are especially harmful to your family’s health. During the warmer months, you can simply open a window or the backyard door to ventilate your home, but sealing it off from fresh air during winter raises the concentrations of pollutants and allergens inside.
When To Call For Air Quality Testing
A surefire way to help determine if your symptoms are due to poor IAQ is if you notice they relieve when not at home. In addition, there are a few more worrisome effects that differ from the typical allergic reaction, such as:
- Worsened asthma symptoms for asthmatics
These symptoms can occur upon immediate exposure to indoor pollutants but are often short-term and easily treatable. However, prolonged exposure can lead to more severe problems, such as respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. Therefore, if you experience any of the effects mentioned above for an extended period, call a professional immediately.
Whether your symptoms are a result of poor IAQ or seasonal allergies, scheduling an air quality test can help identify what particles are present in your home and how they’re affecting the health of your air and family. A technician will then be able to recommend IAQ solutions that fit your specific needs, such as air duct cleaning, air purification systems or allergen air filters.
Schedule Air Quality Testing Today
Our air quality experts at Channell Heating & Cooling understand how crucial your home’s air is, especially during winter. We want to help you secure a healthy and safe environment for your family so that you can rest — and breathe — easy, knowing our team has you covered. If you want your IAQ tested and serviced by a company that cares, call us today!