What Causes Winter Allergies
There is often not one particular answer. Winter allergies tend to flare up when we spend more time inside. What triggers one person might not pose a problem for another.
There are several common allergens found inside our homes, no matter how often you clean. Common indoor allergy triggers include:
- Cockroaches: feces and shells left behind
- Rodents seeking shelter from cold weather bring dander, droppings, urine and parasites that may trigger allergy symptoms
Constant exposure to these allergens causes your body to identify them as invaders. An allergy is an exaggerated response to a substance and is unique to each person. An allergy to dust mites, for instance, tells the immune system to produce antibodies that attach to cellsin the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and lungs. As inflammation occurs, there is more mucus, making it harder for the body to rid itself of allergens.
Treatment Options For Winter Allergy Symptoms
To treat allergy symptoms, Jones cautions against older over-the-counter medicines, which, he says, can do more harm than good.
“Some of these drugs have too many side effects,” he notes, “and people don’t really understand how to match their symptoms to the product. They just know they feel bad and want to feel better.”
For example, some OTC allergy drugs contain decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, which can raise a user’s heart rate. The active ingredient in the antihistamine Benadryl diphenhydramine causes some tissues to dry out and promotes urinary retention, Jones says. “So people with prostate problems, who may have trouble urinating, find that that condition worsens when they take diphenhydramine.”
Jones says that better options are decongestants that contain loratadine and cetirizine , two drugs that moved from prescription to OTC status in recent years. Prescription steroid nasal sprays tend to be more effective than antihistamine tablets, adds Rank, though individual responses vary and the two types of drugs are often used in combination.
Talk to your doctor and your pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medication, to discuss whether it’s appropriate for your symptoms and potential side effects.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology notes that if you have a pet allergy, you might consider immunotherapy allergy shots or tablets that can potentially desensitize you to the allergen and provide lasting relief.
Suffering From Winter Allergies Come See Us
If youre experiencing any of the allergy symptoms discussed above, or want to know how to better manage your allergies, please call 232-1919 to make an appointment with one of our Westchester Health allergy/immunology specialists. He/she will determine the best course of treatment and/or medication and order any necessary tests so that youll soon be able to enjoy this wonderful winter season. Whenever, wherever you need us, were here for you.
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How To Treat Allergies
This article was co-authored by Katie Marks-Cogan, MD. Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan is a board certified Pediatric & Adult Allergist at Clear Allergy based in Los Angeles, California. She is the Chief Allergist for Ready, Set, Food!, an infant dietary supplement designed to reduce the risk of childhood food allergies. She received her M.D. with honors from the University of Maryland. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University and fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania and CHOP.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 176,697 times.
Allergies range from being a nuisance to dangerous medical emergencies. They occur when your body produces antibodies to fight substances that arent actually dangerous to you . This overreaction of your immune system produces the symptoms that make you miserable, such as skin irritation, a stuffy nose, digestive problems, or it can cause a life-threatening reaction. There are some things you can do at home to reduce your allergies and if that doesnt work, you might need to see a doctor.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
Be Able To Identify Your Allergen By Sight
To limit exposure, know the look of the plants to which you’re allergic, Patil suggested. If you’re a hiker, know what type of vegetation, plants and trees are found in the areas you’ll be heading into. You might decide to either premedicate, by taking a nonsedating antihistamine the evening before or the morning of your hike, or by picking somewhere else to go, she said.
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Whats Causing Your Winter Allergies
For many people, its normal to start sniffling as spring flowers bloomor as ragweed starts to circulate when summer turns to fall. But, when its cold enough to sip hot cocoa by a fire, it should mean allergens are goneright? Unfortunately, winter allergies dont take the holiday off.
Myth: We Shouldnt Exercise In The Cold
We use this excuse often to make ourselves feel better. There is not a single reason one shouldnt exercise in the cold.
Cold weather workouts decrease tension, depression and frustration, according to one study published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Our body burns more calories because cold air, increases the amount of energy to keep the body temperature.
Spending time on natural light during outdoor exercising helps fight the seasonal affective disorder. Moreover, in the cold, our body produces more endorphins, which makes us happier and relaxed, because its working harder.
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Treatments For Your Symptoms
Although many of my patients flock to over-the-counter medications, some of them can do more harm than good. A lot of people dont really understand how to match their symptoms to the product and end up taking the wrong ones.
For example, some OTC allergy medications contain decongestants like pseudoephedrine which can raise a users heart rate. Likewise, the active ingredient in the antihistamine Benadryl causes some tissues to dry out and promotes urinary retention. If you have prostate problems and have trouble urinating, this can make your condition worse.
Better options are decongestants that contain loratadine and cetirizine , two drugs that moved from prescription to OTC status in recent years. In addition, prescription steroid nasal sprays tend to be more effective than antihistamine tablets, though individual responses vary and the two types of drugs are often used in combination.
How Can I Stop My Dog Allergies
Lifestyle tips that can reduce the impact of dog allergies include: avoiding touching eyes or face after contact with dogs. washing hands with soap after contact with dogs. avoiding close contact with dogs, such as hugging or kissing them. using a vacuum cleaner designed to trap and contain airborne allergens.
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What Is An Allergy Test
An allergist performs tests to pinpoint the cause of your allergic reactions.
There are two kinds of tests:
- Skin tests: The doctor pricks the surface of the skin, usually on the upper arm, and injects a tiny amount of suspected allergens. If an allergy exists, the skin will react by becoming inflamed, red and swollen, which may cause temporary discomfort. Skin tests give fast resultsusually within a half hour or 24 to 48 hours.
- Blood tests: Blood is drawn and sent to a lab. The disadvantage is that it may take several days for the results to come back. However, more allergens can be tested with blood tests than with skin tests, Blood tests are used to identify seasonal allergies as well as perennial allergies, plus allergies to food, medications, and insect bites or stings. If you have chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, blood tests are recommended instead of skin tests to prevent further irritation.
Its important to tell your allergist about any medications you are taking because some can compromise your allergy test results.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies In Babies And Toddlers
Seasonal allergy symptoms usually occur during spring, summer and fall. Depending on where you live, the seasons and specific plants causing allergies vary. Unfortunately, no region of the United States is completely untouched by allergy triggers.
When your little one inhales one of the following seasonal allergens, her immune system churns out antibodies that jumpstart the release of a protein called histamine, which causes allergy symptoms:
- Spring allergies : Tree pollen. The most common culptrits cedar, birch, oak, maple and pine are found in most parts of the U.S. The farther south you live, the earlier the season usually starts.
- Late spring to summer allergies : Grass pollen. Grasses, including Bermuda, orchard, brome, rye and Timothy, are more likely to produce symptoms in late spring and early summer in the northern states, but are always problematic in the South, since grasses there pollinate year-round.
- Late summer to fall allergies : Weed pollen . Ragweed grows in nearly every climate and is the biggest source of hay fever symptoms.
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Winter Woes: Keep Seasonal Allergies At Bay
Sneezing, congestion and a runny nose – Onset of winters is not a breath of fresh air for many. With a slight nip in the air, one would feel that its time to enjoy a much-needed break from seasonal allergy symptoms, but as the weather gets colder, winter allergies rear their ugly head.
Unlike autumn or spring allergies, which are often responses to outdoor allergens like pollen, winter allergies are triggered by substances inside our home. While these indoor allergens are present year-round, allergies can flare up in the winter because youre cooped up in the house with the windows closed, says Dr Trupti Gilada, Infectious Disease Specialist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.
Winter usually means staying indoors resulting in overexposure to indoor allergens. During winters staying indoors leads to higher exposure to dust on carpets, furniture,toys etc, plant pollen, insects like mites and cockroaches,pets could be carrying dust and pollen on their furs. People susceptible to allergies could be worst hit and conditions like asthma,seasonal rhinitis,urticaria etc may worsen, Dr Charu Goel Sachdeva, HOD And Consultant- Internal Medicine HCMCT Manipal Hospitals Dwarka New Delhi
Pollen from plants and air pollution do lend to the problem too. Children and elderly have been mostly confined indoors due to the covid pandemic, so stepping out specially with children going to school would expose them to many outdoor allergens as well.
How to treat them?
What Are Common Winter Allergies
Dust is everywhere. Dust contains skin flakes and hair from people and pets, tracked-in dirt, clothing fibers, crumbs, and insect parts. Carpets, furniture, window treatments, and bedding are dust catchers. Filters in your HVAC ducts get dirty or clogged, poorly sealed windows allow pollen and dirt in, and vacuuming releases dust into the air.
Dust mites feed on the very things that make up dust, such as skin cells, insect parts and animal dander. They are present in almost every home, lurking in bedding, furniture, and carpets. Their feces contain digestive enzymes that allow them to get energy from their waste, but this enzyme can be a cocktail of allergens for humans.
Mold is also lurking indoors. It thrives in dark, moist places like bathrooms, basements and under sinks. Mold spores float through the air and are found even if conditions arent favorable. In the right conditions, they will grow on fabric, paper, wood, glass, and plastic.
- Extra moisturizing use heavy lotion/oil and wear socks overnight
- Bathe with cooler water avoid stripping skin of natural oils
- Eat healthy fats may improve your skins moisture barrier
- Drink plenty of water for supple skin
- Use a humidifier if dry air is a trigger
- Gently exfoliate feet regularly to rid them of dead skin cells
- Avoid scratching or peeling flaky skin
- Wear comfortable shoes allow feet to breathe
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Pay Attention To Pollen Counts
“Pollen counts are pretty accurate, and have become a regular part of weather forecasts these days,” Patil told Live Science. So people with allergies should keep an eye on them. Pollen levels are higher on dry, warmand windy days, and lower on cloudy, rainy and windless days making those days best for people with seasonal allergies who want to enjoy outdoor activities, she explained.
Can A Peanut Allergy Go Away
Dr. Chacko Featured on the Cover ofAtlanta’s Top Doctor Magazine
Of the many food allergies affecting Atlanta children, a peanut allergy is one of the most concerning. If not carefully monitored and treated correctly, peanut allergies can lead to severe allergic reactions. Thankfully, some people will outgrow their allergies or respond positively to treatment. But how likely is it that your or your childs peanut allergy will go away?
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Talking About The Weather
Whats the spring allergy outlook where you live? Will sudden temperature changes trigger an asthma flare? Weather can play a key role in asthma and allergy symptoms and flu transmission. We partnered with Weather Trends International to provide weather forecasting and analysis for people with asthma and allergies.
How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies
This can be hard for parents to decipher. The average child can contract viral colds as often as ten times per year. These infections typically last for a week or two and then go away. But chronic allergy symptoms linger for weeks and often aren’t accompanied by a fever. Exposure to specific triggers such as pollen, pets and dust can often make your child’s symptoms worsen quickly. But allergy symptoms typically fade when the trigger is removed. If your child is constantly being treated with antibiotics without any obvious benefit, it’s important to have them evaluated for allergies.
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Winter Allergies Vs Colds
Cold and winter allergy symptoms can feel very similar, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other.
It is possible to develop allergies at any age or even to become allergic to the same substances in the same house after years of no reaction. The fact that a person has not previously had allergies does not necessarily mean their symptoms are from a cold.
Symptoms that last longer than a few weeks are usually the result of allergies. Symptoms that appear suddenly, after weeks or months in the same home, may be from a cold, especially if a person does not have a history of allergies.
There are some symptoms that can help distinguish allergies from a cold:
- Colds can cause a fever, but airborne allergens will not change a personâs body temperature.
- A cold may cause aches and pains, while allergies typically do not.
- Sore throat is common with colds, but it occurs less frequently with allergies.
- A person with a cold may feel chest pressure. By contrast, only people with asthma who have allergies typically report chest pain.
- Coughs are more common with colds, although they can also occur with allergies.
- Colds go away on their own. Allergies may only self-resolve when the weather changes, and a person spends more time outside.
- Colds typically do not cause itchy rashes or eyes, whereas allergies often do.
Visit Houston Sinus And Allergy For Allergy Relief This Winter
Living in Houston may help keep frigid, winter weather at bay, but allergies tend to stick around. With allergy season starting early in Houston, combined with spending more time indoors during the winter, youre sure to be exposed to allergens. While you can alleviate some of these symptoms with relatively simple practices, some allergy cases require treatment. If youre ready to live comfortably again, book an assessment at Houston Sinus and Allergy with Dr. Nguyen to get the relief youre seeking. Dr. Nguyen has been a leading ear, nose and throat expert and educator for more than 15 years, offering the expertise to treat and diagnose even the most challenging cases. Plus, Houston Sinus and Allergy is up to date with the newest advanced medical technology and accepts numerous insurance plans. Dont wait contact us today to get the allergy care you deserve.
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Youve Got All The Typical Symptoms
If you think of sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes when you think of seasonal allergies, youd be on the right track. Theres a good chance you have seasonal allergies if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent sneezing
- Itchy throat
- Puffy eyelids
Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. If you have winter allergies, youre probably allergic to an indoor allergen like dust mites.
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How To Alleviate Winter Allergies
Just because you have allergies doesnt mean you have to feel miserable all winter long. While it can feel like forever before you get some relief from your persistent allergy symptoms, there are ways you can make them more manageable. Consider things such as running a humidifier, using natural scents and cleaning your house to start alleviating your winter allergies so you can escape the winter blues and get back to feeling great.
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What Months Are Spring Allergies
Depending on your location, spring allergies can take place as early as February and last until summer. Its important to check your local weather to find out when the blooming would start.
For instance, in Indiana and Kentucky, the weather changes daily toward the end of the winter season. During this time, plants start to bloom and let go of pollen. This signals the beginning of seasonal spring allergies.
Youll typically experience symptoms from early March until May. However, in areas where cold weather would arrive later, spring allergies would also be pushed back.
Spring allergies can make you feel miserable, so dont let them catch you unprepared. Take note of these answers to frequently asked questions, and take precautionary steps to fight spring allergies.
Are there other ways on how you can handle and avoid spring allergies? Let us know in the comment section below!
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