According to Dr. Warren V. Filley of the Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic, winter brings with it "a different set" of allergens.
And with approximately 20 percent of the population suffering from allergies, that's a lot of Kleenex.
Last fall, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Oklahoma City as the fifth-worst allergy city in the country, up from No. 11 in 2000.
"Obviously, people spend more time inside during the winter months," said Filley. "People close up their houses and don't open the windows, so you have more trouble with indoor allergens."
Most common among these, he said:
" dust mites,
" dander from dogs and cats, and
On top of that, hibernators should take into account all the irritants that occur from indoor winter activity, like:
" partially combusted hydrocarbons from gas heaters or stoves,
" fumes from candles, and
" smoke from the fireplace " "vapors that don't get out because you purposely leave the windows and doors shut,"
Filley said there's "lots" of things people can do to combat indoor allergens.
"Certainly look at your home environment and try to keep it cleaner," he said.
In addition, he advised:
" pets should be kept outside, or at least out of one's bedroom
" home heating systems should be clean and well-ventilated
" bedding should be washed in "extremely hot water and more frequently than you might otherwise." "Rod Lott