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Overview:

Winter allergies are essentially the same as any other season’s allergy symptoms. If you’re allergic to pollen, the cool weather may provide relief. However, if you have allergies to mold or dust mites, you may experience an increase in your allergy symptoms during the winter. Between 5 to 20% of people suffer from some sort of winter allergy. Winter allergies are more likely when there is so much snow that walking outside is impossible.

Symptoms of cold and winter allergies can be extremely similar, making it difficult to tell one from the other. Sore throats are prevalent with colds, although allergies cause them less commonly. Dust mites prefer warm, moist settings, and their dead bodies and feces might end up in your home. Pet dander of dogs and cats can contaminate indoor surfaces, increasing your risk of exposure. Mold and mildew in the yard can easily trigger allergies and asthma.

Those who take Christmas trees into their homes may be exposed to pollen residue. Mold growth can become stuck in the fur of pets who go back and forth between indoors and outdoors. The middle of winter is normally cold enough to prevent this. If you have a pet allergy, opt for immunotherapy (allergy shots or pills) to potentially desensitize you towards the allergen. Decongestants including loratadine or cetirizine (such as Zyrtec) are preferable possibilities for treating allergies.

What are the symptoms of winter allergies?

Winter allergies are essentially the same as any other season’s allergy symptoms. However, because of the colder or harsher weather that characterizes the winter season, you’re more inclined to spend extra time indoors, exposing yourself to indoor allergens.

The following are some of the most frequent indoor allergens that really can aggravate your winter allergies:

  • air with dust particles in it.
  • House dust mites
  • dander from pets.
  • fungus
  • Cockroach excrement.

Preventive treatments are the best way to alleviate allergy symptoms. Even if your allergy symptoms are at their worst, you can still find relief. Read on for advice on how to identify indoor allergens, what symptoms to look out for, how to treat & prevent hay fever, and more such as how to tell a difference between winter allergies as well as a cold.

Winter Allergies: What Causes Them?

Douglas H. Jones, MD, of the Rocky Mountain Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Group in Layton, Utah, states, “You don’t have pollens in winter,” As a result, outdoor winter allergies aren’t a big deal. “However, indoor [allergens] still exist.” You may notice an increase in allergy symptoms, including sneezing, wheezing, or itchy, watery eyes, if you spend more time indoors during the colder months. The American College of Allergy, Allergy, and Immunology lists the following frequent indoor allergens (that may cause symptoms in the winter:

  • Dander: People can develop acute and chronic allergic reactions to dander (dead skin flakes) rather than to the hair of domestic pets like cats and dogs.
  • House Dust Mites According to the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America, these minute bugs may be the most frequent cause of indoor allergies throughout the year. (2) Dirt mites thrive in your home’s bedding, carpeting, and upholstered furniture.
  • Mold in the home Mold spores are inhaled by everyone, but individuals with allergies may experience sneezing, congestion, and itching as a result of exposure. Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments like basements or bathrooms.
  • Cockroach excrement. These tireless pests can dwell everywhere, and while they’re not a symptom of an untidy or unhealthy home, it’s crucial to keep food enclosed and clean up crumbs promptly. Cockroaches can be kept at bay by repairing leaky faucets and pipes, as well as sealing cracks and holes in your home.

Although precise data is difficult to come by, according to Matthew A. Rank, MD, an allergy expert at the Mayo Clinic near Phoenix, Arizona, between 5 to 20% of people suffer from some sort of winter allergy.

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?

If you’re allergic to pollen, the cool weather may provide relief. However, if you have allergies to mold or dust mites, you may experience an increase in your allergy symptoms during the winter, when people spend more time indoors.

What is the Worst Weather for Allergies in Winter?

In contrast to the summer, whenever the weather generates dry conditions that result in higher levels of dust or a higher risk of wildfire smoke, allergies are caused indirectly. It’s not the weather as it is the reality that we will be huddled indoors that makes it so bad. As a result, there is no one weather pattern that causes the most allergies; it’s the appropriate weather if it’s chilly enough to keep us home for extended periods of time.

As a result, it’s easy to see why the worst heavy snow for allergies is also the most miserable. You’re more likely to get allergy symptoms as the temperature decreases. Winter allergies are more likely when there is so much snow that walking outside is almost impossible. The worst heavy snow for allergies is the worst weather in general.

Colds vs. Winter allergies:

The symptoms of cold and winter allergies can be extremely similar, making it difficult to tell one from the other. It’s able to develop allergens at any age, and it’s even conceivable to develop winter allergies to the same items in the same house following years of no reaction. It is not always the case that a person’s symptoms are due to a cold if they have never experienced allergies before.

Allergies are frequently the cause of symptoms that continue for more than a few weeks. Symptoms that emerge abruptly, after days or weeks of living in the same house, could be the result of a cold, especially when that person has no history of allergies.

There are a few symptoms that really can help you tell the difference between allergies and a cold:

  • Fever can be caused by a cold, but airborne allergens have no effect on a person’s body temperature.
  • A cold might induce aches and pains, but allergies almost never do.
  • Sore throats are prevalent with colds, although allergies cause them less commonly.
  • A person suffering from a cold may experience chest pressure. Only people with asthma and allergies, on the other hand, commonly have chest pain.
  • Coughs are more prevalent with colds, although allergies can also cause them.
  • Colds are self-resolving. Allergies may resolve on their own as the weather changes and a person spends more time outside.
  • Colds rarely result in itchy skin or eyes, although allergies frequently do.

Indoor allergens:

  • During the winter, a number of indoor allergens can cause symptoms, particularly when the weather is damp and you spend more time indoors due to poor weather conditions.
  • To keep in mind, here are some of the most frequent indoor allergens.
AllergenWhat’s the location of it?Why is it so widespread?What aggravates the situation?
Dust mites are a type of mite that lives in theBedding, furniture, and rugs are all available.Dust mites prefer warm, moist settings, and their dead bodies and feces might end up in your dust.  Using indoor heating and not cleaning bedding on a regular basis
dander from pets.Beds, carpets, and upholstery are just a few examples of indoor surfaces.Pet dander of dogs and cats can contaminate home dust and adhere to a variety of indoor surfaces, increasing your risk of exposure.Animals are spending increasing time indoors, particularly in bedrooms and living rooms.
MoldBathrooms, basements, or under sinks are examples of dark, wet environments.Mold growth can be aided by wet conditions.Humidifiers, dripping faucets, and leaking pipes
Cockroach excrement  Kitchen cabinets, under sinks, and behind appliances are all examples of dark, wet locations.  Roaches can be driven indoors by wet weather.Leaving food or crumbs on the table

Improving the Quality of Your Indoor Air:

To make life better for us all indoors this winter, follow these suggestions:

  • Once a week, deep live in your house, bed, clothes, and pets.
  • Maintain a humidity level in your home of less than 50% to help decrease dust.
  • Shower before going to bed.
  • Pets should not be allowed in your bedroom.
  • Eat before going to a holiday party or bring your own food.
  • Always carry an EpiPen with you to events.

Allergies to the outdoors:

Mold and mildew aren’t just an issue indoors. Dead leaves are one of the most common sources of mold and mildew during the winter months. Mold can thrive in this environment because of the leaves. The leaves themselves contain cellulose, which the mold uses as a food source. When they are gathered together, they form a barrier that retains heat. The fourth component is moisture, which we have plenty of in Tennessee during the winter.

Mold and mildew in the yard can easily trigger allergies and asthma. Wind gusts can cause it to rise to the point where this can be ingested. Mold growth can become stuck in the fur of pets who go back and forth between the indoors and the outdoors. They next bring it inside, where it may easily interact with other members of the household.

Tree pollen is a common source of allergy symptoms. The middle of winter, such as December and January, is normally cold enough to prevent this. Those who take Christmas trees into their homes, on the other hand, maybe exposed to pollen residue caught in the needles.

Prevention is the best:

An allergy is unavoidable. If you know you’re allergic to something, though, you can take precautions to prevent a reaction. Use the following advice:

  • Remove any mouldy shower curtains, wallpaper, or carpeting.
  • To clean showers and sinks, make a solution of 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.
  • Use a dehumidifier to maintain the moisture in your house below 50% to help control dust and mould.
  • To remove dust from the air, use a HEPA air filter.
  • Bedding should be washed once a week in hot water (130°F).
  • Cover beds, pillows, and comforters with allergy-proof covers.

If someone in your family is sensitive to pet dander but you really want a pet, mammals without fur, such as fish, are the best options. If you have a dog or cat, keep it out of your bedroom and bathe it at least weekly.

During the winter holidays, you can also:

  • Think about getting a fake Christmas tree. Live ones can be found with chemicals and mould.
  • Before hanging ornaments, make sure they’re dust-free.
  • Rather than fabric ornaments, opt for glass or plastic ornaments, which collect less dust.
  • Keep pollen and mould outside by not putting wood in the fire until you’re ready to burn it.

If you’re a pet allergy and will be visiting people who do have cats or dogs, bring your allergy medicine and continue your immunotherapy before going.

How to Get Rid of Allergies in the Winter:

If you experience allergies throughout the winter, here are some activities you may do to help alleviate your symptoms:

  • Examine the firewood. Brush off firewood when bringing it into the home to avoid mould, and only take in what you want to use right away.
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke. Smoke can wreak havoc on allergy sufferers in the winter. So, every year, get your chimney cleaned and your fireplace screen replaced with a fireplace door.
  • Clean your feet. Wet leaves as well as other potential cold weather carriers should stay outside, so clean your shoes after stepping inside.
  • Use your storage space wisely. When not in use, store seasonal products in airtight containers to avoid dust and mould accumulation.

Allergy Advice for the Winter:

1) Keep Allergens to a Minimum

Because the most frequent winter allergens are so prevalent in our daily lives, staying indoors to prevent them is more difficult than it appears. In other sections of the country, such as the South, the winter brings severe tree pollen allergies. For example, in January, pollen from cedar (juniper) trees produce widespread allergic reactions in Austin, where we live.

If you can’t stay indoors, wash your hands and face frequently to avoid inhaling annoying pet hair and mildew spores. Pet dander from dogs and cats causes other winter allergies. These are pollutants in the air that come from within your home. In this circumstance, it is critical to clean your home on a regular basis. Animal dander and big dust particles can be picked up with a decent HEPA vacuum cleaner.

2) Maintain a dust-free home environment.

You’d think allergies would be less common in the cold. Pollen, for example, isn’t as bad because many plants aren’t blooming as much as they do in the fall and spring.

There is, however, one significant difference.

We turn on their heating systems when the weather turns cold. For many of us, this means dust from the HVAC is now being blown throughout the house. Allergies to dust mites are also a concern. It’s a good idea to have your ductwork cleaned once in a while to help ease seasonal allergy-like dust.

Another suggestion is to replace your heater filters on a regular basis. While no one enjoys having to replace filters every few months, it is necessary for keeping your room clean and reducing stress on the HVAC system. It is significantly less expensive to replace air filters than it is to use more power to heat your house or to make heating system repairs.

3) Replace and wash bedding

While bed bugs are more common during the summer, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your bed linen clean all year. You won’t be rolling around on itchy pet hair, collected dirt, or pollen spores brought in from outside if you keep your mattress clean during the winter months. To keep dust mites at bay, wash your bedding or towels at least once a week. If mold spores are a problem in your home, invest in dust mite covers for your bedding. It may be better to upgrade the sheets if they are old.

4) If you have allergies, take antihistamines.

Many allergy treatments can help ease itchy eyes as well as a stuffy nose. The majority of them are available as over-the-counter medications. If you’re going to utilize allergy medicine to help with your allergies this winter, check with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you. Nasal sprays are a helpful answer for certain people. If your nasal passages are congested, this is especially true. You should also rule out the possibility of a regular cold, as the symptoms are very similar. If your sinuses aren’t getting better or the medicine is losing its effectiveness, we’ve found that switching brands can help.

5) Purchase an air purifier.

The most effective & hands-free way to relieve winter allergies is to use a household air purifier. A real HEPA filter is recommended for the best results. This is due to the fact that HEPA filters are the most effective at eliminating both large and small airborne allergens.

Typical Allergy Avoidance Techniques (CAT):

Here are some tips for avoiding the causes of winter allergies:

  1. If you have a dust mite allergy, cover your mattress and pillows with tightly woven allergy barriers encasements that trap the allergy particles so you don’t inhale them while sleeping. Dust mites can breed in bedding, so it’s best to wash it once a week in warm or hot water. Removing carpeting and staying away from leather furniture may also help.
  1. If you have a cat or dog with allergies, the most efficient remedy is to locate a new home for your pet. Giving your pet away or keeping it outside isn’t always a good idea or possible. So, at the very least, keeping the pet out of the bedroom and using a HEPA air purifier in the bedroom could help.
  1. Avoid storing cut firewood indoors, decrease the number of plants in your home, and fix any water leaks or moist locations to reduce mould exposure.

A visit to an allergy specialist may be necessary if your symptoms are persistent and bothersome enough to interfere with work, play, or sleep. Food and skin winter allergies, nasal allergies, eye allergies, sinus infections, and asthma can all be treated by a board-certified allergic specialist at Advanced winter Allergies and/or Asthma Care. Insect stings and drug allergies are also treated. We have offices in Danbury, Fresh Milford, Norwalk, and Ridgefield in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

You can aid yourself by taking allergy medicine and cleaning your residence on a regular basis.

  • Changing your bedding on a regular basis
  • Make an appointment with your local doctor for extra assistance.

Since many of the signs can be mistaken for colds or a more serious ailment, you should see a doctor if they persist or worsen.

Is it possible for allergies to worsen in the winter?

While indoor allergens are prevalent throughout the year, allergies are much more likely to flare up in the winter because you’re cooped up inside with windows closed. Once the heat is turned on, your furnace may circulate these compounds through the air.

Are allergies a problem now, in the year 2021?

Allergy season, like taxes, is one of those events you can’t escape. In fact, it may be becoming worse as a result of climate change. Warmer temperatures cause more pollen to be produced, so allergy season in 2021 could be the worst yet. Children, in particular, may have a difficult year as a result of the COVID-19 quarantine.

When would winter allergies begin to appear?

Mold thrives in conditions where the temperature is above freezing and the air is moist, such as after a rainstorm. Mold spore levels might briefly increase during warm winter months, which can be misleading for mold-allergic patients who aren’t expecting an allergy flare.

Why am I usually suffocating during the winter?

A stuffy nose is not caused by being in a cold environment. Rather, stuffy noses in the winter allergies are typically the outcome of a high number of colds or even more active allergies. People spend time inside during the frigid winter months, which means they are exposed to more dust, allergies, and cold viruses.

Is it possible to get rid of a cold allergy?

Even though there is no cure or treatment, medication and prevention can help. Your doctor may advise you to attempt home remedies to prevent or relieve symptoms, such as taking over-the-counter antihistamines or avoiding cold exposure.

Are you exhausted because of your allergies?

Winter Allergies can create a variety of unpleasant and distracting symptoms, ranging from stomachaches and headaches to breathing problems and runny eyes. However, you also may have experienced additional allergy symptoms like fatigue, drowsiness, or mental sluggishness.

Can you have allergies in the winter?

Despite the fact that freezing temperatures put a stop to seasonal insect allergies, millions of people are suffering from winter allergies due to the amount of time they spend indoors during the cooler months. Winter allergens, including molds, dust mites, and animal dander, can cause illness in the house.

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