Winter Allergy Symtoms May be Caused by Pollen Trapped in Indoor Air
Air duct graphic
Pollen is made up of microscopic, powdery granules produced by ragweed, grasses and trees, such as cottonwood and pecan in the spring and summer months. These tiny granules trigger hay fever, seasonal, perennial and nasal allergies. Airborne allergens released by plants and trees affect millions of people and can trigger or aggravate asthma, lead to sinus infections and to ear infections in small children.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies caused by pollen, and according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, half of these illnesses are aggravated by poor indoor air quality, including pollen trapped indoors. No matter how tightly you shut your windows and doors, pollen can still sneak in your home during those brief moments when your exterior doors are open. People track pollen indoors on their shoes, clothes and even their hair. Pollen counts are higher in the spring, with some cities ranking higher than others. Though by no means the worst city in this regard, Houston was ranked number 61, out of a group of 100, in 2012, as the most challenging place to live with asthma.
If you typically have springtime allergies and yet are experiencing similar symptoms in the middle of winter, the cause could be a buildup of dust in your household air ducts that have trapped springtime pollens. Your central heating and air conditioning system can be though of as your home's lungs, breathing in air and contaminants and then breathing those gases and pollutants back out again an average of five to seven times a day. Dirty ducts can contribute to larger health issues or create serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions and environmental allergies.
Indoor air quality concerns homeowners; having the ducts cleaned can remove the pollen that aggravates allergies and makes it hard to breathe. While some people can withstand small amounts of indoor air pollutants, no one should be subjected to the substantial amount of pollutants found in dirty ducts when spending most of their time indoors, especially seniors and children with asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems. Cleaning your ducts can ease allergy symptoms.