Winter Cold Freezing Weather
Cold weather has been linked to a delay in allergen release but that does not mean you should count their lucky stars just yet. Pollen production may be low during winter but other allergens become more prominent during those times. Cold weather can be a haven for allergens like pet dander. Winter weather increases the time you spend indoors, which increases your exposure to indoor allergens. Despite the cold conditions, allergens from previous seasons could be very alive and well. Viruses that thrive in cold conditions dont help either since they produce symptoms that mimic some allergic reactions. Some of those viruses are: influenza, rhinovirus, parainfluenza and more.
What To Do About A Stuffy Nose
What steps can you take to alleviate your stuffy nose symptoms before seeing a doctor or ENT specialist?
- Nasal decongestant sprays like Afrin can help, but you should only use them for 3 to 4 days at a time.
- Nasal steroid sprays or drops tend to work well however, antihistamine pills will not treat a stuffy nose as well as sprays.
- Sinus rinses and Neti pots are a common and effective way to help relieve a stuffy nose.
If your stuffy nose persists for more than a month , or if you have symptoms such as pain, pressure, or fever, see a doctor, as this could be a sign of sinus infection.
Do you have questions about your stuffy nose? Do you want to see about getting checked out for a possible sinus infection or other condition? Contact Virginia ENT today to schedule an appointment and discuss your options so we can help you breath easier.
Why Winter May Impact Your Mental Health
For some people, depression gets worse at certain times of the year. This may seem unusual, especially if youve never noticed how your surroundings and environment affect your mood before. But worsening depression, especially when it sets in during winter, is more common than a lot of people realize. Someone reached out to us recently about this:
My depression is a lot worse in wintertime, and I cant figure out why. My routine is the same year-round, so Im not sure what to do differently. Do you have any idea why Im feeling depressed more often when its cold outside?
This is a good question. On the surface, it may be hard to see why depression gets worse in one season than in another. But when we do a little digging, some possibilities emerge. If you have seasonal depression triggers, recognizing them can help you feel more prepared and find more ways to cope.
There are a few reasons why you might feel more depressed during the winter months. But there is always something you can do, there is always hope, and support is always available. And youre definitely not alone in what youre feeling or experiencing right now. I hope this gives you some suggestions for how to manage winter depression and helps you feel more hopeful and optimistic for the days ahead.
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What You Can Do To Prevent Winter Allergies
A big problem with winter allergies is that cold-weather lifestyles can turn a simple allergic reaction into something worse, says Dr. Jones.
“People are turning up their heaters, which makes the indoor air even drier,” he says, “and that leads to dry noses, which increases the incidence of nosebleeds and skin cracking which in turn boosts infection risk when someone’s nasal passages are already inflamed from allergies. Jones recommends using nasal saline rinses to lower the risk of contracting a secondary viral infection.
It may not be possible to get rid of winter allergies entirely, but you can reduce exposure to allergens, at least in your own surroundings. Jones, Dr. Rank, and other allergy experts offer these tips for minimizing indoor allergen exposure in winter:
If you’ve done all you can to allergy-proof your home but you still have symptoms, it might not be your fault, Jones adds. Public areas, such as workplaces, can have the same allergy-inducing conditions as your home: dry air, dust, and dust mites. In addition, pet owners often get dander on their clothes and unwittingly transport it into public places. The level of cat dander in public places is high enough to trigger allergy, Jones says.
Reasons Your Allergies Are Getting Worse
Whether you have the runny nose and itchy eyes to prove it or you just know someone who does, there’s an overarching theme among sufferers that allergy season seems to just keep getting worse.
The good news: You’re not imagining it. The bad news: You’re not imagining it. Allergies really can get worse over time, and there are some big-picture reasons why. No matter what’s aggravating your symptoms, you can put these helpful solutions to good use. And in the meantime, here are a few reasons you might be facing even more sneezes than usual.
Worsening allergies is one of the many dangers of our planet’s temp steadily rising. “Pollen seasons are becoming longer and more potent,” says Allergy & Asthma Network allergist Purvi Parikh, MD. “Plants use the higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air to create almost ‘superpollinators,'” she says. “That makes allergy seasons start earlier and end later.”
Maybe you moved to a smoggy city recently or your area’s air quality has grown particularly poor. “Ironically, allergies are worse in cities than in the suburbs because of air pollution and higher levels of ozone,” Parikh says, even though people in the suburbs may be exposed to more plant allergens. Even within the same city, your allergies might get worse just because you moved to a neighborhood closer to the busiest roadways.
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Sense Of Ending Or Loss
Winter starts at the end of a year. The sense of things coming to an end or winding down may make you feel a greater sense of depression. You could be saddened by the leaves falling from the trees. Winter could be reminding you of what you lost or missed out on throughout the year, and it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that we cant get our time back once it passes.
When you feel this way, it may be helpful to shift your mindset a bit. Along with being sad about the year coming to an end, can you think of what you are grateful for about this past year? Did you accomplish something
new? Did you make new friends? Focusing on gratitude, even just a little bit each day, can help make coping with seasonal depression easier.
It may also help to look forward. When you think about the future, try thinking of it as being full of possibilities to try new things and to grow as a person.
You were , and that doesnt end with the ending of a year or change with the weather. Gods love for you is unconditional, and He has plans to give you hope and a future . Remembering that Gods love and your purpose dont change with the seasons can help you get through some of winters tougher days.
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.
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Best Air Purifiers For Winter Allergies
We have found that most allergies in the winter are from dust, dust mites and pet dander. This is because the temperatures are colder and we close up our homes. In most parts of the country pollen counts are lower since you are past the ragweed in the fall and flowers and trees that bloom in the spring.Mold and mildew is a common issue in the summer due to higher temperatures and humidity levels. In the winter, it is cooler and drier so mold growth is much better under control.So, in choosing an air purifier to help with your winter allergies you will want to look for a machine that has enough air flow for the size of your room. If you don’t have enough air flow then the indoor air will not be fully cleaned.The other aspect of a good air cleaner is that is has a high-quality HEPA filter. The fine particulates that are floating in the air and causing your allergic symptoms are best removed with a HEPA filter so make sure you go with the highest rated filter. Filters are commonly rated by a MERV rating to show how efficient they are. That is, how well they remove the allergens which are small particulate matter.To find the right air purifier for your specific home, compare our Air Purifiers For Allergies. While each air purifier removes airborne particulates, certain models have specific features and cover different room sizes.
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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Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms Can Be Depressing
Some people will develop asthma and others will feel fatigue from poor sleep due to a congested nose. Whats even worse is that untreated allergy symptoms can lead to even worse illness like sleep apnea.
Below are a few of the symptoms you might experience.
The fatigue I experienced was so bad I could barely get through a day, even after 10 hours of sleep! Thankfully I didnt experience asthma, however many people do.
Winter Allergies Versus A Cold
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 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.
How Can I Reduce Dust And Dander Indoors
4.3/5What Steps Can I Take to Control Indoor Allergens?
Likewise, people ask, why are indoor dust and dander levels so high?
Causes of High Dust and Dander in HomesPoor ventilation results in less air flow, which when the air is trapped and is not filtered out the allergens also get trapped within the air and create high levels of these substances in your home.
Similarly, why are my allergies worse indoors? Although many substances in dust can trigger allergic symptoms, the most important indoor allergens are dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches, and molds. Allergy symptoms can actually be worse in the winter when the windows are closed and people are shut in with the allergens.
Also Know, how does weather affect indoor dust and dander?
Rainy weather also creates the perfect conditions for mold spores and dust mites to thrive, offering no relief to those who are sensitive to those allergens. No matter what kind of allergy you have, chances are windy days make it worse. Pollen, mold, dust, and dander are all harmless on the ground.
How do you get rid of allergens in a room?
Below, eight ways to do it.
Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis
Your symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of your allergies. Symptoms can include:
- Itching .
- Runny nose.
- Pressure in the nose and cheeks.
- Ear fullness and popping.
- Watery, red, or swollen eyes.
- Dark circles under your eyes.
- Trouble smelling.
Allergic rhinitis can last several weeks, longer than a cold or the flu. It does not cause fever. The nasal discharge from hay fever is thin, watery, and clear. Nasal discharge from a cold or the flu tends to be thicker. Itching is common with hay fever but not with a cold or the flu. Sneezing occurs more with hay fever. You may even have severe sneeze attacks.
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What Are The Different Ways To Treat Allergies
- Avoid or reduce exposure to weeds, trees, grasses, molds, or other allergens. Monitor the pollen count especially if you’re planning to spend time outside.
- Use nasal spray. Over-the-counter options include Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort. Prescription sprays are available through your allergist.
- Oral medications include over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications and antihistamines.
- Immunotherapy, usually done through allergy shots.
Allergens Appearing At Night
Once you go to bed, you cant really combat allergens. If you have an old air conditioner or heater and it blows out dust while you sleep, that could lead to a very unhappy morning. The above pollen example applies, too. If you brought pollen into the bed, then youre very likely to wake up symptomatic.
Also, you could go out at night to avoid pollen counts and end up exposed to another allergen. You come back in, go to bed, and then start the next day with terrible allergy symptoms.
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What Can Be Done About Summer Allergy Symptoms
At-home management of allergies should include keeping your windows closed , checking pollen and mold counts relevant to your allergies , and taking a shower and changing your clothes once you come inside from work or play outdoors.2
If youre suffering from summer allergies, speak with your doctor or allergist. They may have solutions beyond the typical over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays to offer, such as prescription decongestant nasal sprays or nasal steroids, stronger prescription antihistamines, or decongestants. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach of over the counter tablets, your allergist can help create a treatment plan that fits your symptoms.
Seeing an allergist can also help you prepare for a less dreadful allergy season next year, as they can help you pinpoint your allergies through testing and get a jump on treating them, whether by immunotherapy or starting treatment earlier for summer before summer allergies start making you totally miserable!
Do you have summer allergies? How do you manage them?
Why Do Allergies Get Worse In Autumn
ByRemy Melinapublished 8 October 10
While hay fever and allergies caused by trees are usually associated with springtime, seasonal allergies can also spike during the early fall months. Cool autumn air harbors irritants that can be just as unpleasant as pollen.
Allergens from trees and grasses float through the air in spring, summer and fall, according to the National Institutes of Health . These particles can enter a person’s nose, eyes, ears and mouth, triggering an allergic reaction.
“The most common fall allergy is ragweed, which pollinates from August 15 to early October through most of the United States and parts of Europe,” said Dr. Jay M. Portnoy, chief of allergy, asthma and immunology at Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Mich. “It causes hayfever, with symptoms that include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy nose and itchy, watery eyes.”
Mold spores are also released in autumn, and become more common in the air as decaying leaves and other vegetation fall to the ground, Portnoy said. This worsens allergy symptoms because as mold particle counts climb higher, they become increasingly irritating to people with allergies. High mold counts also contribute to breathing problems among those with asthma, Portnoy said.
But there’s still some good news for those suffering from autumn allergies.
“Many people get better once the weather turns colder and stops fluctuating from warm and cold,” Portnoy said. “By November, it often gets better.”
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