Sunday, February 18, 2024

Why Do I Have Allergies In The Winter

Causes Of Allergies In Winter

How to deal with seasonal allergies

Dust Mites

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live on dead human skin and pet dander. These pests are found anywhere dust particles collect. Even if youre a neat freak, its impossible to rid your home entirely of this common indoor allergen .

Pet Dander

The proteins found in animals skin cells, saliva and liquid waste cause the symptoms of pet allergies. These particles are so light that they can become airborne with the slightest breeze and can stick to your shoes, clothes, skin and hair.


Mold can shed spores all year. Since mold thrives in damp spaces, mold allergy symptoms may be worse in rooms like bathrooms, laundry rooms or crawl spaces. Outdoor mold can form in shady, damp areas.


In warmer climates, pollen allergies can be a problem all year round. Additionally, during mild winters, pollen season can start as early as January or February. Learn more about how to alleviate pollen allergy symptoms.

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:

What Are Winter Allergies

Many people think of allergies as seasonal, caused by grass, tree and ragweed pollen. Truth is, seasonal allergies can occur nearly year-round as trees release pollen in the spring, grasses in the summertime, and weeds go to work in the fall. And if you live in a warm climate, you might experience allergies in winter because some plants may not go dormant. For example, people who live in the Southwestern United States Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Missouri may experience whats called cedar fever if exposed to the Ashe Juniper tree during winter months.

If tree, grass and weed exposure trigger allergies in spring, summer and fall, then what could trigger allergy symptoms in wintertime? Winter allergies are less likely to be caused by outdoor triggers instead, they are triggered by exposure to allergens inside your home or office.

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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 you’ve 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 it’s not the Christmas tree itself that may fire up your winter allergies, but the mold it harbors. Smoke, trees, scented candles, “they’re irritants, not allergens per se.”

Jack Frost Nipping At Your Nose:

Can Chiropractic Help With Seasonal Allergies?

Can cold weather trigger allergies? Unfortunately, yes. When the season does change in Florida, ragweed and mold begin to thrive.

Ragweed produces the pollen that, at its thickest, might cover your car in a yellow dust. Its also known for causing a winter cough that creates a tickling sensation in your throat. For those allergic to ragweed, this tickling sensation can be triggered by eating melons.

If you change your air filter regularly and keep your house well-vacuumed and dusted, you can escape ragweed when youre indoors. However, mold allergies in winter can lead to both indoor and outdoor winter allergies.

Inside, mold enjoys setting up camp in wet areas . Outside, mold can often be found in areas where wetness can stay collected .

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Winter Symptoms Similar To Spring/summer/fall Ones

Although specific data is hard to come by, I would estimate that roughly 5-20% of Americans suffer from some form of winter allergy, based on the number of patients I see in my Westchester Health practice.

The symptoms of winter allergies are fairly identical to those of spring, summer and fall:

  • itchy eyes, nose and throat

Common Symptoms Of Winter Allergies:

Some common symptoms of indoor, winter allergies are sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing and postnasal drip, and itchy eyes, nose and throat.

If you experience a fever and achiness, its more than likely a cold or flu. But symptoms shouldnt last more than 10 days for a cold or flu.

Other winter allergy symptoms include sinus headaches, bronchitis, shortness of breath, asthma, itchy or watery eyes, runny nose and dark circles under the eyes.

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Why Do I Have Allergies In Winter

Indoor Air Quality Consultant, Mold, Asbestos, Radon, Lead Paint, Methamphetamine, Chemical Residue, VOC’s, Remediation

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 doesn’t 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

How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies

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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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How To Get Rid Of Winter Allergies In Florida

Knowledge may be power, but youre going to feel pretty powerless if you know only what causes winter allergies and not how to get rid of them. Go-to treatments for winter allergies often include: avoiding the allergen, taking OTC antihistamines, using nasal sprays, and participating in immunotherapy.

These treatments can provide substantial relief. For some, however, they may still not be enough. Luckily, they still have the options of balloon treatment for chronic sinusitis or ClarifFix.

Balloon treatment for chronic sinusitis, also known as balloon sinuplasty, is minimally invasive, can be performed in-office in less than 21 minutes, and requires little recovery time. During the procedure, your doctor inserts and inflates a tiny balloon within your sinus cavities, expanding them so your sinuses can flow more easily. To see if youre a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty, take our sinus quiz.

ClariFix is also minimally invasive, can be performed in-office in as little as three minutes, and requires little to no recovery time. During this procedure, your doctor inserts a cooling probe into your sinuses. The doctor then places this probe next to the nerve that signals the production of mucus . Afterward, the doctor cools the nerve with nitrogen gas.

How To Help Reduce Allergies In Winter

Clean Up

During the winter, its normal to spend more time inside. That makes cleaning even more important than usual. Dust, mop and vacuum regularly to help get rid of dust mites and pet dander. Clean bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms with mold -killing cleaners. Wash your clothes, hands and face to remove allergenic particles. Each week launder your bedding in hot water a water temperature of at least 130°F will kill dust mites .

Keep Humidity in Check

You might think of winter as a drier time than usual, thanks to the furnace running 24/7. But mold can still thrive in damp areas, like your basement. So can dust mites they drink by absorbing moisture, so theyre most prevalent in humid areas. To help keep mold from growing and dust mites from thriving, keep the relative humidity in your home below 50 percent. Air circulation from furnaces, dehumidifiers and ceiling fans help keep your home dry.

Filter the Air

Properly filtering the air in your house is one of the best ways to help keep from breathing in airborne particles especially when you are indoors more than usual. Be sure to change your furnace filter regularly to trap dust more efficiently. Use an air purifier in bedrooms to reduce allergens.

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Tips To Tame Winter Allergies

Whether it’s summer, spring, or winter allergies stuffing you up, you can do a lot to manage — or prevent — allergy symptoms, including:

You’re not alone with winter allergies. More than 40 million Americans are allergy-prone year-round. If you aren’t getting the relief you need with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medication, it may be time to talk to an allergist.

Show Sources

Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine program director, allergy/immunology fellowship program,Medical College of Wisconsin.

Steven H. Cohen, MD, FAAAAI, associate clinical professor, Medical Collegeof Wisconsin. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:”Allergies vs. Colds,””Preparing Your Home For Battle: FightingIndoor Allergies.”

Alan Goldsobel, MD, spokesman, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology physician, Allergy and Asthma Associates of NorthernCalifornia.

Things You Can Do At Home To Tame Winter Allergies

[Infographic] All about Allergic Rhinitis
  • Avoid allergens. The best treatment for winter allergies is to avoid what youre allergic to. For example, stay indoors when the wind is whipping up damp leaves in the yard. Keep indoor allergens to a minimum by mopping, sweeping and dusting often.
  • Bathe often. Frequently washing your hands and face reduces the number of allergens you carry and spread. When allergy symptoms are really bothering you, take a shower and change your clothes. Added bonus: the steam of a hot bath or shower may relieve allergy symptoms like sinus congestion.
  • Wash your bedding often. Most bedrooms are havens for pet dander and dust mites. You can keep these and other allergens at a minimum by washing your sheets, pillowcases and blankets in hot water, every week if possible, to kill dust mites. Also, use hypoallergenic cases for mattresses and pillows to keep dust mites trapped.
  • Look for allergy-reducing bedding thats specially designed to be less permeable to allergens like dust mites.
  • Use a nasal saline solution. Irrigation with saltwater is a great home remedy to relieve the nasal congestion that comes with winter allergies.
  • Drink more water. When youre blowing your nose all the time and the thermostat is cranked up, its easy to get dehydrated. Keep up your fluids by drinking lots of water, eating more water-rich fruits and vegetables, and if you like, drinking hot tea. A benefit to hot drinks: the steam may reduce nasal congestion.
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    Are Allergies Worse In The Winter

    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.

    What Are The Most Common Allergies In The Fall And Winter And What Are Their Symptoms

    Allergic rhinitis, better known as hay fever, is a leading cause of chronic disease. Sometimes we dismiss the runny, itchy nose and watery eyes as a mild irritation, when it can really make people feel miserable and affect their quality of life. The most common fall allergies come from high levels of ragweed pollen and mold spores, which tend to peak in the fall. Mold growth can spike with the warmth and humidity of the summer and persists through the fall. Meanwhile, ragweed pollen levels rise in late August and can last until the first frost.

    Fall allergy sufferers usually grapple with:

    General fatigue and recurrent sinus infections are also common. Asthmatics and eczema sufferers may also find they are more likely to have flare ups from allergens, temperature and humidity changes.

    Unfortunately for many children with allergies, winter can also bring its own set of challenges. That’s because both indoor allergens and cold-weather irritants can trigger symptoms, too. Irritants such as dry, cold outside air, and recycled particle-filled indoor air can lead to congestion, sore throat and sneezing. Being inside so much in the winter can also lead children to be exposed to other allergens such as pets, indoor mold and dust mites. If your child’s symptoms worsen when they enter your home or their school, they may also suffer from indoor, environmental allergies.

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    Indoor Winter Allergy Triggers

    Most indoor allergy triggers aren’t unique to wintertime. You probably encounter them to some degree all year, but several aspects of winter may make them worse:

    • You likely spend more time inside when it’s cold.
    • The windows are probably closed a lot more.
    • You have the furnace running, kicking things up and drying the air. Dry air means dry nasal passages that are prone to irritation.

    A key to controlling indoor allergy symptoms is to figure out what’s causing them.

    Winter Allergies Vs Seasonal Colds

    I Am Allergic To The Cold

    Winter allergies can leave you miserable, sometimes with a runny nose or flu-like symptoms.So, how do you know if you have a cold or seasonal allergies?An allergic reaction is your body’s immune system fighting against something it falsely sees as a threat. Many times this will be caused by dust, mold or a pollen like ragweed.A cold is caused by a virus. You are more likely suffering from a cold if you have a fever or cough. Another distinction is your symptoms change over time. Some people may start with a sore throat and after a few days then have chest congestion and a cough.With an allergy you will more likely have clear mucus . Your symptoms will likely stay the same. You may feel achy and have a headache, however those symptoms may also be present with the common cold.Assuming you have winter allergy symptoms, take these 5 simple steps to feel better.Whether you write them down or bookmark this post, these will all help reduce year-round allergies.

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    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.

    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

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    Why Do I Have Allergies In The Winter And What Can I Do About It

    Dust and Allergens

    Furnaces force the circulation of airborne dust that contains lint, fabric fibers, bacteria, food particles, and animal dander. The most common types of winter allergies are dust mites, animal dander and mold.

    Dust Mites

    Dust mites thrive in humid environments and are more prevalent in bedrooms, mattresses, pillows and bedding. Fecal particles from dust mites become airborne, and patients can suffer from symptoms of allergies year-round.


    Our cats and dogs can be a huge cause of allergy problems in the winter. Cats and dogs have many identified allergens. These allergens are found inside homes, workplaces, and schools even when there are no pets living there.


    Indoor molds are another big cause of allergies in the winter. Mold thrives in damp, humid environments. Especially basements and bathrooms. Specific outdoor molds that are prevalent outdoors can also be brought inside.

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