With dormant trees and frosted grass, you wouldn’t think allergy symptoms like sneezing and coughing should be a problem in winter. But unfortunately, there is such a thing as winter allergies, and you’re actually more likely to suffer from them if you deal with allergies throughout the rest of the year.
What Are Some Causes of Winter Allergies?
Since we spend most frigid days indoors, we’re more exposed to pet dander and dust mites that lurk in our homes. We’re also likely to carry outdoor allergy triggers inside, including mold on our shoes that’s been breeding on wet leaves, and mold on damp firewood. All of these things get blown through the air we breathe when the furnace kicks on.
What Are Allergy Symptoms in the Winter and How Are They Different from a Cold?
Winter allergies cause the same symptoms as they do during spring, summer and fall such as:
• Runny nose
• Red, itchy eyes
• Dark circles under the eyes
Some differences between colds and allergies are that:
• In colds, mucus is thick and yellow while in allergies, it’s thin and clear.
• A cold may cause a slight fever, chills and body aches while allergies do not.
• A cold will go away after a week, but allergies will persist through winter.
How Can I Avoid Winter Allergies?
The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to:
• Mop and sweep floors and vacuum to remove moldy debris brought in on shoes.
• Wash bedding frequently in hot water to eliminate dust mites and their droppings.
• Bathe your pet with a moisturizing shampoo to prevent dry skin that becomes dander.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Winter Allergies?
To make yourself more comfortable this winter, try using saline solution to irrigate the nasal passage and wash away allergens. You can also use allergy medication such as decongestants or antihistamines to alleviate allergy symptoms. If you can’t get relief with those methods, consult with an ENT at Sound Health Services to determine if you could benefit from allergy treatments such as immunotherapy, or allergy shots. Allergy shots gradually introduce your immune system to the irritant that causes your symptoms so you can breathe more comfortably throughout the winter season.
Call Sound Health Services to Make an Appointment
To find an office near you where an allergist can address your symptoms, call (314) 332-1377 today.