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Beat Indoor and Outdoor Allergies in Rainy Weather
Mold, mildew, mites: How to deal with this rainy weather triple threat
Short-term rain is a blessing for most allergy sufferers. Outdoor pollens – a major culprit for many allergy sufferers – calm down, and that can spell relief. But, says NY allergist Atul N. Shah, MD, author of the Amazing Allergist book series and the medical director at the Center for Asthma and Allergy, it’s persistent rain that presents problems. “Ongoing rain, followed by dry, warmer weather allows a higher amount of pollen to circulate in the air, which will increase allergy symptoms,” he notes.
When you’re dealing with long-term rainy weather, you’re more prone to the allergies that happen indoors.
Here’s what you need to know about minimizing indoor allergies:
Keep everything dry. Mold and mildew need damp conditions – and you’ll find them in their favorite areas, like the basement, bathrooms and in areas with water leaks.
Don’t run humidifiers in high moisture areas during rainy days. It’s a recipe for mold growth.
Be watchful for dust mites in mattresses, pillows and the carpet. They love humidity.
Manage humidity in the home environment. The aim is to bring the humidity to around 40 - 50%. Running dehumidifiers, especially in the basement, can be very helpful. This will reduce the mold growth.
If you’re thinking of installing carpet on concrete or in areas that are prone to dampness, reconsider. Carpet traps humidity.
Don’t use damp areas for storage; not only can they damage your belongings, but can also give safe harbor to mold and mildew. If you need to handle items you’ve already stored that have visible mold growth, use a mask and protective gear.
Identify, repair and seal all leaks to minimize dampness.
If you do have mold present, get professional help.
Of course, if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, allergy sufferers are especially vulnerable to mold spores that move around in outdoor air when it’s damp and humid outside. Here are some steps to take to avoid exposure:
Avoid going outside on rainy or windy days when mold spores may be flying around. Weather.com has a mold spore map of the United States that shows where they’re most concentrated.
Avoid the types of places molds like to concentrate, such as compost heaps, wet leaves and grass clippings. For serious sufferers, this may mean hiring someone else to remove them. For others, this might just mean frequently mowing the lawn and keeping your yard clear of leaves and debris.
Tame your symptoms with these tips for year-round and seasonal outdoor allergies.