Exposure to indoor allergens is one of the common triggers of winter allergies. These include mold and dust mites. In winter, people usually spend more time inside. People living in poorly ventilated areas may face more exposure to these irritants. As a result, indoor allergens may affect them, causing severe and chronic winter allergy symptoms.
What Causes Allergies During the Winter?
Occurrence of the winter allergies usually depends on the lifestyle of an individual. Indoor allergens are responsible for causing these types of allergies. People who spend more time indoors are more prone to experience them. In addition, rodents seeking shelter from cold weather bring droppings, urine, and parasites with them. They may trigger allergy symptoms. Some of the other most common indoor allergy triggers include:
- Feces and shells left behind by cockroaches
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
What Are the Most Common Winter Allergy Symptoms?
Indoor allergens can trigger the following allergy symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Ear itching
- Shortness of breath if you have allergic asthma
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Morning headaches
- Sore or itchy throat
- Ear Itching
- Postnasal drip
- Rashes or dry, itchy skin
- Low-grade fever
Some of the allergens may lead to more severe winter allergy symptoms. These may include chest tightness, wheezing, or whistling while breathing. Sometimes, a person may also feel anxious or and exhausted.
Winter Allergies vs. Cold
Several different sources are responsible for causing allergies and colds. Allergies are the result of the body’s histamine release. It develops an inflammatory response to that particular allergen. On the other hand, the cold usually occurs due to a virus that spreads by an already infected person.
Allergies appear when exposed to irritants that enter the respiratory system. You may continue to experience the winter allergy symptoms as long as you breathe in allergens. It usually lasts for several days to months or even longer.
Colds usually go away on their own. It may last for several days up to two weeks. In contrast to winter allergies, you may experience severe body aches in the cold.
Some other symptoms that help to differentiate between cold and winter allergies include:
- You may experience severe throat infections with colds. But, it occurs less frequently with allergies.
- A person suffering from a cold may also have chest pain. Whereas only people with asthma who have allergies commonly feel chest pressure.
- Coughs often appear with colds, whereas people with allergies rarely experience it.
- A cold ends once your body fights off the infection. Allergies go when the weather changes.
- Allergies frequently cause itchy rashes or eyes, but they do not appear with cold.
If you have experienced the allergy symptoms for more than a week, it’s high time to see the doctor. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a skin specialist. He will ask about your medical history and symptoms.
He will perform a blood test to diagnose some allergies. The skin specialist will also recommend a skin test. He will scratch the skin with an allergen or inject the irritant under your skin. You are allergic if your skin turns red and itchy.
Why Do My Allergies Get Worse in the Winter?
Allergies depend on your triggers and how your body reacts to them. Scientists suggest that allergies get worse due to climate change. In other seasonal allergies, you find relief indoors. Winter allergies are difficult to avoid as they are more likely to be found inside your home and workplace.
Preventing Winter Allergy Symptoms
It is not possible to prevent the allergy completely. But if you are allergic to some irritants, you should take some steps to avoid a reaction. These steps include:
- Throw out the molded wallpaper, shower curtains, and carpeting.
- Regularly wash your clothes in hot water.
- Don’t allow your pets to spend more time in the bedroom and dining area.
- Clean the areas that have mold growth.
- Use allergy-proof covers for your mattresses, pillows, and comforters.
- Wash showers and sinks.
- Clean up any leftovers after you or your pets eat.
- Regularly vacuum your home and clean it properly.
What Is the Best Treatment for Winter Allergies?
Some of the most effective treatment options suggested by skin specialists include:
● Take Over-The-Counter (OTC) Allergy Medication
Your specialist will recommend OCT medications according to the severity of your condition. They help to alleviate symptoms.
Skin specialists usually recommend allergy shots for severe and chronic allergy symptoms. They can help provide relief for a longer time.
● Decongestants and Antihistamines
They effectively help to provide relief for a runny nose. Antihistamines reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching.