Winter allergies involve mold, dust mites

NEW YORK, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. adults and children sensitive to hay fever have to wait for a frost for relief, but those sensitive to mold spores can be bothered all year.

"Allergy to mold spores can be more of a problem than pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and is not limited to a single season -- needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive," says Dr. Michael Stewart of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Stewart advises to make the winter months more bearable for allergy sufferers by:

-- Keeping indoor humidity level below 35 percent to help prevent the growth of mold and mites.

-- Using exhaust fans when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors and avoid wall-to-wall carpeting because it is an ideal place for dust mites to proliferate.

-- Using dust-proof covers for mattresses, box springs and pillows to decrease exposure to allergens. Wash bed linens and nightclothes in hot water to kill dust mites.

-- If using a humidifier, keep it clean and change the water frequently to avoid contamination by mold and bacteria.

-- Children with asthma should get a flu vaccine.