Winter Allergy: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Unlike seasonal allergies, indoor allergens cause winter allergies, which are also referred to as indoor allergies. These allergens include dust, mold, pet dander, and cockroaches.

Allergens spread indoors. About 90% of homes contain three or more detectable allergens, and 73% contain at least one allergen at elevated levels. In addition, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

This article explains the symptoms, causes, and treatments for winter allergies, and whether your cold is caused by an allergy or a cold.

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symptoms

Winter allergy symptoms often affect the respiratory system. So, if you have a winter allergy, you may experience the following after exposure to the allergen:

  • sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Crowding
  • Red, itchy, watery eyes
  • whistling
  • Coughing
  • Itchy

People with any respiratory allergies, including winter allergies, are more likely to develop asthma, especially in children. Therefore, it is essential to limit your exposure to known allergens. Exposure to allergens may trigger an asthma attack if you already have asthma.

Squeamishness

Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening response to an allergen. Symptoms include:

  • Worry
  • blotchy, wet skin
  • confusion
  • breathing difficulties
  • fast heartbeat
  • Itchy
  • Unconsciousness
  • hasty
  • weakness

If you notice any signs of anaphylaxis, seek medical attention immediately.

the reasons

Dust, mold, pet dander, and cockroach droppings cause winter allergies.

soil

People with dust allergies are not allergic to dust. They are allergic to dust mites, which are microorganisms that feed on dust and moisture. Dust mite allergy is the most common type of indoor allergy.

Dust mites thrive in temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity. They are found in fabrics and other soft objects, including:

  • bed
  • carpet
  • Curtains
  • stuffed animals

Since you can’t get rid of dust mites, frequent cleaning is key to keeping these allergens away.

musty

You can find mold both at home and abroad. Mold finds its way indoors through open doors and windows, HVAC systems, and leaks in ceilings, walls, and pipes. Special environments encourage mold to thrive, including:

  • Cardboard
  • carpet
  • ceiling tiles
  • gypsum wall
  • soil
  • insulation
  • fee
  • paper
  • upholstery
  • Wall paper
  • Wood

Mold control includes keeping humidity low, fixing leaks, and proper ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens.

pet dander

People often think that pet allergies are caused by pet hair, but allergies are caused by exposure to pet dander found in pet skin. In addition, proteins in pet urine and saliva can cause allergic reactions in some people. While pet hair is not a direct allergen, pets can transfer other allergens onto their fur, including dust and pollen.

Cats are the biggest cause of pet allergies. Many people are just as allergic to cats as dogs.

cockroach dung

A cockroach allergy is an allergy to body parts, saliva and droppings. While people often associate cockroaches with filthy living conditions, this is not the case. Cockroaches are well adapted to living with humans and, as scavengers, they forage for food from human homes.

Cockroaches hide in cracks in homes and tend to appear at night. Controlling cockroach allergies includes keeping cockroaches out of your home by sealing cracks, keeping pet food closed and away, rinsing and cleaning dishes, trapping them, and spraying pesticides.

cold vs allergy

Because the symptoms of colds and allergies overlap, it can be difficult to know what you might be experiencing, especially in the winter months. However, there are some tell-tale differences.

Allergy

  • Caused by allergens

  • come on suddenly

  • It disappears when the allergens are removed

  • May include tears and itchy eyes

  • Does not include fever

  • Clear and watery nasal secretions

treatment or treatment

While there is no cure for winter allergies, several treatments can help you manage it. However, you may need to try different medications before you find the one that works best.

nasal spray

Nasal sprays work by reducing inflammation and inhibiting histamine to relieve allergy symptoms. Nasal sprays are the most effective allergy treatment, but they must be used frequently for good results.

antihistamines

Histamines are chemicals your body produces in response to exposure to allergens. It’s what produces your allergy symptoms. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine so that you can get rid of allergy symptoms.

decongestants

Decongestants clear congestion, which is a welcome relief when you have winter allergies that include nasal symptoms. They work by thinning the mucous membranes to facilitate the drainage of mucus.

allergy shots

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) differ from other allergy treatments in that they are not used to control symptoms. Instead, allergy shots boost your tolerance to allergens by injecting small amounts of them in increasing doses over time.

The goal of allergy shots is to desensitize to the point that your allergy bothers you less once treatment is complete.

home remedies

In addition to medication, you can do things at home to control your allergies. The most effective treatment for allergies is to eliminate exposure to the allergen.

There is no cure for winter allergies, but there are some ways to prevent an allergic outbreak.

Use a dehumidifier

A dehumidifier can help prevent allergens if you have indoor allergies. This is because winter allergens, such as dust and mold, thrive in high humidity levels. So dehumidifiers are especially useful in rooms that tend to be damp, such as basements.

Vacuum regularly

Make a habit of vacuuming once a week with a vacuum cleaner with a filter designed to control allergies and asthma. A good vacuum is essential if you suffer from winter allergies. A poor quality vacuum cleaner can raise more dust and allergens than it cleans.

In addition to carpeting, be sure to vacuum upholstery. While cleaning, wearing a dust mask can help you avoid inhaling the dust it raises.

wash your sheets

Every week, wash your bedding in hot water and dry it in the dryer on high heat to kill dust mites. Covering your mattress and pillows with allergen-resistant covers can also keep allergens covered and away from your face.

Seal cracks in windows and doors

To prevent allergens from entering your home, be sure to seal cracks and crevices. Sealing cracks in pipes can also help prevent mold, while sealing cracks elsewhere prevents cockroaches from entering your home.

Keep pets out of the bedroom

If you are allergic to pets, consider getting a pet because pet dander can be difficult to deal with. If you have a pet and have winter allergies, leave your pet out of your bedroom to reduce your allergy symptoms.

Replacing carpeting with wood floors can make pet dander more manageable. Caring for pets more frequently can also help. However, you may want to have someone else do the job or wear a mask while cleaning or bathing your pet.

Summary

Winter allergies can be frustrating. But the good news is that once you identify your triggers, you can learn how to manage your symptoms. The best way to control allergies is to eliminate exposure to the allergen. Additionally, many people find relief through over-the-counter, prescription medications, or allergy shots.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Could you be allergic to a cold?

    You cannot be allergic to temperature. However, when you retreat indoors in the cooler months, you may be exposed to indoor allergens more consistently.

  • When does winter allergy start?

    Winter allergies are also known as indoor allergies. As such, people often encounter it year-round. However, when you head indoors in the cooler months, you may be more noticeable. Therefore, you may encounter them more between November and February.

  • How long do winter allergies usually last?

    Depending on the climate in which you live, winter allergies may be short or long lasting. It may last for up to four or five months in colder climates.

  • Why is my sensitivity worse in the winter than in the fall?

    Your allergies may be worse in the winter than in the fall. That’s because the weather gets colder and you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to indoor allergens more consistently.

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