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Dry Winter Weather Brings Dry Skin, Allergies

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You may have been feeling the effects of the dry weather. Cold temperatures plus cranked up indoor heating can decrease humidity in your home.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Cold outdoor temperatures combined with cranked up indoor heating can dry out your home.

"It's a big problem due to the humidity being low in the air right now," said Carl Phillips, Operations Manager at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning. "Furnaces eat a lot of the humidity as well."

This combination can lead to dry, flaky, and itchy skin, and can exacerbate existing allergies and skin conditions. But there are ways to combat the dryness. One option is a humidifier.

"Humidifiers are great options to introduce humidity back into the home and also  help a furnace from eating a lot of that extra humidity," Phillips said.

Humidifiers can be added to an existing home furnace or purchased as a portable unit.

To measure the humidity in your home, you can use hygrometers or devices that that measure both humidity and temperature. Thirty-five to 40-percent humidity is recommended for an indoor temperature of around 70-degrees.

Phillips said he recommends that people do yearly maintenance checks on their humidifiers to make sure they are working properly and to prevent mold.

Pharmacies and drugstores are also places where people seek options to beat the dry air.

"Every year about this time of year, we have an increase of people coming in form cold weather with dry skin," said Pharmacist Donald Charpentler.

Charpentler said if you are experiencing weather-related dryness, to use lotion to replenish your skin with moisture.

"Lotions seep into skin more and the cremes don't go into the skin as much so it stays on the surface," said Charpentler. "You should use a moisturizing soap and then put on lotion twice a day immediately after taking a shower and then at night before going to bed."

Charpentler said people with certain skin conditions should consult with their dermatologists before applying products. He added that people experiencing severe cracks or chapped skin should see a doctor to determine if a topical prescription is necessary.

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