We've entered the cold and flu season and many people have already been afflicted. But not every sneeze and cough is caused by a cold. Sometimes it's winter allergies that are contributing to the misery.
While allergies are often thought to act up only in the spring and summer, the winter months can be brutal for people sensitive to mold spores and dust mites.
"During the winter, families spend more time indoors, exposing allergic individuals to allergens and irritants like dust mites, pet dander, smoke, household sprays and chemicals, and gas fumes -- any of which can make their lives miserable," said Dr. William Reisacher, director of The Allergy Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
And then there is mold. Mold spores can cause additional problems compared with pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive. During the holiday season it is especially important to make sure that Christmas trees and holiday decorations are mold-free.
If you or someone in your household suffers from allergies, here are some winter-time preventive steps you might consider: