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Why Are Allergies Worse In Winter

Are Allergies Worse In The Winter

Explaining why allergies are so bad in North Texas

Allergies depend on your triggers and your bodys reaction. When your symptoms flare because of pollen, you go indoors and get relief. Winter allergies can seem worse because the triggers are inside your home and workplace, so its harder to get away from them.

Dry air heightens allergy symptoms. With the heat running all winter, indoor air dries out your skin and nasal membranes. They get sore or cracked. A secondary infection risk goes up with cracked skin or nosebleeds, which happen more often in the dry winter air.

Dust Mold Pests And Pet Dander

Common indoor allergens include:

  • Dust particles and dust mites: Dry skin and more time inside can lead to more dust, and that leads to more of the mites that feed on dust.
  • Mold and mildew: Depending on the climate where you live, mold and mildew may be worse in the winter due to wetter weather.
  • Pests, such as cockroaches and mice: Some people are allergic to cockroach shells and feces others may react to dander, urine, feces, and parasites left behind by rodents looking for a warm place to hole up.
  • Pet dander: Your pets may spend more time inside when it’s cold, which leads to more dander. Dander is a protein on animal fur and it’s what most people are allergic to rather than the fur itself.

While these allergens may be in your environment year-round, winter can have you sealed inside with them. That could make your symptoms worse.

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.

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Winter Makes Indoor Allergens More Present

As the weather turns chilly, people and pets spend most of their time in the home. The cold months can offer some much-needed reprieve for pets who suffer from environmental allergens such as pollen, grass and pollution. However, not all pets are the same. While some get allergic reactions from outdoor substances, others develop allergy symptoms from substances circulating in their living space.

Pets who are allergic to dust, mold and chemical cleaners may experience worse symptoms during winter. Thats because all the windows and doors are shut to seal in the heat. This creates a lack of fresh air that would otherwise help circulate allergens out of the home. Instead, an airtight living space increases the volume of dust, mold spores and debris that gets trapped in your allergic pets environment.

Your furnace could also be to blame! Once the temperatures drop, furnaces kick into high gear. What many homeowners dont realize is that air ducts accumulate airborne allergens like dust and debris. Furnaces make environmental allergies worse by pumping these airborne allergens throughout the entire home. To make matters worse, pet parents often forget to change the furnaces air filter. Old, dirty air filters contribute to unhealthy indoor air quality.

Why Do My Allergies Get Worse In The Winter

Winter Allergies in Tennessee (The Forgotten Allergy Season)

Even though ice, snow and freezing temperatures bring an end to pollen, many people still suffer from winter allergies, primarily due to more time spent indoors. In fact, the most common allergenshouse dust mites, animal dander, cockroach droppings, fabric fiber, bacteria and forced-air furnaces circulating airborne dustare actually worse in winter when there is less ventilation. For allergy sufferers, the old saying Home is where the heart is could be Home is where the allergens are.

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How To Relieve Your Pets Allergies In Winter

People and pets may be stuck indoors, but that doesnt mean they have to endure winter allergies. Follow these tips to help your allergic pet breathe easy this holiday season.

  • Set up a humidifier: You can counteract the dryness of winter by installing a humidifier in your home. This should help minimize skin irritation and lubricate the air passages. For best results, set your humidifier to about 40 percent humidity. Place it in the room where your pet spends the most amount of time.
  • Replace the air filter: Furnace air filters are supposed to be replaced once every few months. This ensures it can properly remove airborne allergens from your living space. Also, consider switching to a high-efficiency particulate air filter. These are highly recommended for people and pets with winter allergies because they capture a larger volume of dust, mold and debris.

Pet parents should understand that its impossible to fully eliminate certain allergens from an indoor environment. However, taking care of your home puts you on the right path toward alleviating your pets allergy symptoms. Speak with your vet for additional advice on how to help your furry friend navigate this time of year.

What Allergies Are Worse In The Winter

A few allergies become more severe during the winter months but by far the most noticeable are your common indoor allergies, such as mold and dust. This is because youll be spending more time inside during the winter and dont often have fresh air circulating throughout your home. On top of that, the dry air that comes with the colder temperatures can cause your allergy symptoms to seem more pronounced.

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Why Are My Allergies Worse In Winter

With so many allergies seemingly associated with seasonal pollens and flowers and trees, it can surprise many people to learn that the most common allergies are much worse in the winter rather than the summer. Pharmacy Planet is a reputable and trusted supplier of all the main allergy treatments online in the UKincluding the EpiPen Auto-Injector and Rhinocort nasal spray. Four of the most common allergens are:-

  • House dust mites
  • Cockroach droppings

All of these are worse when people are confined indoors during the winter months and tend to have less ventilation.What is pet dander?It is a common misconception to think that a pet allergy is caused by the animals fur but that is only part of the problem. Pet dander consists of fur, hair and saliva in tiny proportions and this can stay in the atmosphere and on clothing and furniture almost indefinitely. It is microscopic so cannot easily be seen by the naked eye even if you vacuum away all visible traces of fur and hair, the pet dander will still remain.Common symptoms of winter allergiesThese include:-

  • Irritated nose and throat

Treatments For Winter Allergies

2022 Allergies and why they may be worse this year

The most effective way to treat winter allergy symptoms is to prevent them by avoiding allergens whenever possible. However, avoiding allergens can be challenging, especially when youre allergic to common airborne substances like mold and dust mites. Dr. Qureshi may recommend one or more of the following options to relieve your symptoms:

Nasal irrigation treatment or neti pot

These treatments work by pushing clean water through your nasal passages to eliminate allergens.

Nasal sprays

You can purchase prescription-strength nasal sprays over-the-counter. Theyre a great way to relieve inflammation and other symptoms.

Over-the-counter allergy medication

Over-the-counter antihistamines work well to relieve allergy symptoms. Acetaminophen, a pain reliever and fever reducer, can help with certain symptoms of allergies as well.

Allergy shots

If your symptoms are severe and chronic, ask us about allergy shot options. They work by regularly exposing you to minute levels of allergens so that they improve your bodys immunity. This type of treatment greatly reduces the severity of symptoms in the long term.

If youre suffering from winter allergies and are looking for relief, call us today or schedule an appointment online for a consultation with one of our doctors.

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Top Triggers Of Winter Allergies

Most winter allergies are caused by the same inhaled allergens of summer, Chiu tells WebMD. Unfortunately, winter can actually intensify those triggers, including:

  • Pet dander: Because cold weather means pets are indoors more often, your exposure to dander escalates in the winter months, leading to a corresponding surge in symptoms.
  • Mold and mildew: Decaying leaves and other yard waste gives mold and mildew an ideal breeding ground. Shoes and clothes then provide these damp, clingy irritants with an easy way inside.
  • Temperate climates: Milder climates where there are few or no frosts or hard freezes means the year-round presence of allergens like pollen, year-round symptoms for people living there, or an increase in allergy symptoms for those traveling to warmer climates in the winter.
  • Damp wood: Cut wood stored outside easily becomes a moist haven for mold spores. Bring the wood inside for even brief storage and youve invited in a classic allergy trigger.

What about other woody centerpieces of the season, like Christmas trees and roaring fires? Do these trigger winter allergies, too?

Probably not, Chiu tells WebMD. Wood smoke from a fireplace may aggravate existing symptoms in those susceptible not cause them, Chiu says. And its not the Christmas tree itself that may fire up your winter allergies, but the mold it harbors. Smoke, trees, scented candles, theyre irritants, not allergens per se.

Can You Be Allergic To Leaves In The Fall

Rake Your Yard of Fallen Leaves In addition to keeping the inside of your home clean, you should keep your backyard free of fallen leaves and other debris that may cause an allergic reaction. To avoid triggering your symptoms, have a member of your family rake your yard frequently or hire a landscaper to do so.11 Aug 2021

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What Triggers Allergies In The Winter

Winter allergies are often perennial allergies,1 meaning they can take hold at any point in the year, rather than being restricted to the spring, summer and fall. Allergies stemming from cold weather are not triggered by pollen but by culprits such as mold spores, mildew, dust mites and pet dander2.

Winter Allergies Versus A Cold

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During the winter, it can be difficult to distinguish an allergy from a cold. Both share symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. But colds are usually viral infections, while an allergy is your bodys immune system response to an irritant or trigger.

According to the National Institutes of Health , colds dont usually last more than a couple of weeks, while allergies will continue as long as the allergen is present. And symptoms like itchy, watery eyes are typically a sign of an allergy, not a cold or the flu, while aches and fever are not associated with allergies. A cough sometimes comes with allergies but is more commonly a sign of a cold, and when its more severe, the flu.

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Steer Clear Of Allergens

Considering the most prominent winter allergens are quite common in our everyday routine, staying indoors to avoid them is easier said than done.In certain parts of the United States, like the South, the winter is a time for some serious tree pollen allergies. For example, in Austin where some of our employees are located, the pollen from cedar tress causes widespread allergic reactions in January.If you cant avoid the outdoors, regularly wash your hands and face to keep pesky pet hair or mildew spores from being breathed in.Other winter allergies arise from pet dander from dogs and cats. These indoor air pollutants that originate inside your home.In this case it is important to frequently clean your home. A good HEPA vacuum cleaner will help in picking up animal dander and large dust particles.

Can Allergies Act Up In Cold Weather

Winter allergies are often perennial allergies,1 meaning they can take hold at any point in the year, rather than being restricted to the spring, summer and fall. Allergies stemming from cold weather are not triggered by pollen but by culprits such as mold spores, mildew, dust mites and pet dander2.

Tips For Fighting Your Winter Allergies

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An Allergist Can Help With Eczema

Allergy symptoms can make you miserable and impact the quality of your life. They can also be challenging to diagnose and treat. If you feel that you are suffering from the symptoms of eczema, and are ready to discover relief, contact The Allergy Group. Our board-certified allergists will review your symptoms, discuss your medical history, perform an exam, and conduct testing to diagnose the underlying cause. We will then utilize this information to educate you on how to treat, reduce, and if possible, eliminate a recurrence. Medication may be prescribed on an as-needed basis or for seasonal use only. To schedule an appointment, call The Allergy Group today at or submit a contact form.

Our team of board-certified physicians and medical professionals are experts in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology. Our doctors and physician assistant have backgrounds in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. The Allergy Group has clinics located in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, and Caldwell. We are committed to caring for patients in Treasure Valley and beyond.

Why Do I Have Allergies In Winter

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If youre allergic to pollen, you may get a break when the weather gets cold. But if you have indoor allergies such as dust mites, mold, or other contaminates, you might notice an increase in allergy symptoms.

Why do I start feeling worse in winter?

When it gets cold the furnace gets turned on. The furnace sends all kinds of things in the air, such as dust, mold spores, and insect parts. These contaminants get inhaled and can cause reactions in sensitive individuals.

Here are some common indoor allergens:

What are common allergy symptoms?

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes and nose

Some may say its cold and flu season. How can you tell the difference? A cold usually doesnt last for more than 10 days and usually includes a fever. Allergy issues linger for more extended periods of time, even months.

How can I be sure if I have a cold or allergies?

If your symptoms last more than a week, see your doctor. Your doctor may send you to an allergist who can collect a health history, and possibly perform a skin or blood test.

How do I find out if my home or office is the problem?

If you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact me at

Thomas A. Alford CIEC, CMRS

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Possible Signs Of Winter Allergies

The symptoms of winter allergies are similar to the flu or a cold. But if those symptoms last more than a week to 10 days, allergies are probably to blame for them.

That said, if your symptoms come with a fever, aches, and pains, then its more likely a cold or the flu.

Below are some common symptoms of winter allergies:

  • Scratchy throat

What Are Other Causes Of Allergy Symptoms In The Morning

Allergy symptoms in the morning arent only caused by allergens, though. Nonallergic rhinitis can also trigger morning allergy symptoms like congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.

Allergic rhinitis and nonallergic rhinitis cause similar symptoms. The difference is that nonallergic rhinitis doesnt involve the immune system. Rather, other irritants and factors trigger allergy-like symptoms. These factors include:

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Christmas Trees And Wreaths

What: While Christmas trees themselves may not be the source of allergic reactions, they can harbor mold spores and microscopic allergens, and even sap and pollen.

Tips: Before bringing a live Christmas tree indoors, hose down the tree, then let it sit in the sun to dry and/or use a leaf blower to eliminate pollen and as many mold spores as possible. If there are no small children or pets, a mixture of bleach and water can be sprayed on the foliage without harming the tree. Note: remove the tree immediately after the holidays as mold accumulates the longer a tree stays inside your home.

Using an artificial tree will eliminate the chance of bringing mold spores, sap or pollen into the home. Be sure to give an artificial tree a good cleaning/dusting off before setting it up for the holidays if it has been in storage.

Minimizing The Impact Of Winter Allergens

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The tips below will come in one of two basic categories. The first are cleanliness tips that can apply all year round, to minimize allergens on a daily or weekly basis. The second are tips to keep yourself healthy and your house clean, to minimize the amount of allergens that circulate in winter and to minimize your exposure to them. Theres a lot here, to settle in.

Replace your furnace filter. Many people leave their furnace filters in for months or, in some cases, even years. This is harmful in a few different ways. For one thing, a clogged filter makes your furnace work harder, which increases energy bills and decreases the lifespan of your furnace. For another thing, a clogged filter doesnt stop allergens. Advice from professionals indicates that you should change your furnace filters about once a month during the heating season. If youre using high efficiency Filtrete filters, they can be changed around every three months. Change filters more often in households with smokers or numerous pets.

Use face masks when possible. Face masks can reduce the amount of airborne allergens that you breathe within your home, and can help block pet dander and hairs from entering your system.

If youre sold on carpets and dont want wood or tile, you should switch to a low-pile carpet that has a harder time holding in dust and dander. Steam clean them as well, and when you vacuum, try to use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.

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