Reporting Lauren Casey
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The first hard freeze of the season will occur Tuesday night in the Metro thereby killing off the last of the seasonal vegetation, an event to induce exclamations of relief from allergy sufferers.
A box of tissues is an autumn staple for those plagued by allergies, due in large part to autumn outdoor activities including one of most sniffle-inducing activities: raking leaves. That’s because damp leaves harbor mold and ragweed.
Many plants can survive in freezing temperatures, but when the mercury dips below 26 degrees for a period of four hours or more, as is the case in a hard freeze, its goodbye pollen and mold spore producers.
Dr. Philip C. Halverson from the Allergy and Asthma Specialists, P.A. in downtown Minneapolis confirms that Tuesday night’s hard freeze will end the production of mold spores which are the primary allergens of the fall season.
But don’t downsize that tissue supply just yet. Even though the elimination of outdoor allergens will take place, ’tis the season for the increase of exposure to indoor allergens. Halverson states that a flare up or burst of indoors allergies is commonly experienced during the transitional time from fall to the winter season.
Dust, pet dander, mold and smoke from fireplaces are prime offenders in causing wintertime allergy symptoms with the main indoor allergen being the microscopic dust mite, according to Halverson. He said dust mites live on our dead skin cells and thus are found in areas of the home where we frequent the most including our beds, sofas and in the carpet.
To reduce dust mite levels in your home, the website for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, recommends encasing mattresses and pillows in zippered, plastic covers, washing bedding weekly in very hot water of 130 degrees and to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
And though everyone loves Fido and Fluffy, Halverson suggests keeping pets out of the bedroom to reduce allergic reactions to pet dander and to change air filters, which capture airborne dander and dust, on a frequent basis.