Closed-up homes harbor indoor pollution

February 22, 2008 2:30:51 PM PST
Runny nose, but no cold? Could be stagnant indoor air

As if colds & flu weren't enough in winter, you could be feeling the effects of indoor air pollution.

Dr. Kathleen Sheerin, an allergist, says."For some people who aren't allergic, it can just make you stuffy and your eyes a little irritated. But if you're one of the 20% of the population who has allergies, it may actually cause the same reaction that you see at the height of spring."

Dr. Sheerin says stagnant air in closed up houses can expose us to high levels of pet dander, cigarette smoke, particles from fireplaces, and other allergens that aren't circulating.

To lower levels of the irritants, install furnace filters that trap particles, not just dust; use exhaust fans to reduce moisture and mold buildup; remove carpeting that might harbor dust mites; and consider cracking open a window whenever possible to freshen the air.