Winter Allergies: Symptoms & Causes
Winter allergies are a significant annoyance for everyone, especially winter enthusiasts. Don’t let it prevent you from participating in many activities and enjoying your winter vacation. So, why do allergies occur more frequently in the winter, and how can this disease be avoided? Liftyolife (liftyolife.com) will tell you everything you need to know about allergies right here. Stay tuned and check out as soon as possible.
1. What are winter allergies?
Winter allergies are seasonal indoor allergies caused by many triggers surrounding us, such as mold, dust mites, pet dander, and other agents. This means that allergies are entirely possible in all seasons, including spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Winter allergy symptoms are essentially the same as seasonal allergy symptoms. Nevertheless, because of the colder and harsher weather that characterizes the winter season, you are more likely to spend more time indoors, increasing your exposure to indoor allergens.
2. What are winter allergy symptoms?
Winter allergies are typical seasonal allergy symptoms; please note, pay closer attention, and listen to your body. If one of these symptoms lasts for more than a week, contact your doctor right away. Check out the following winter allergy symptoms checklist:
- stuffy/runny nose,
- difficulty breathing, especially through a clogged nose,
- itchy eyes,
- watery eyes,
- throat itching,
- ear itching,
- feeling sick,
- dry coughing, sometimes producing phlegm,
- skin rash,
- low-grade fever,
- sinus pressure or problems,
- scratchy throat,
- dry, itchy, scaly skin (including eczema),
- asthma (in some people),
- dark circles under the eyes.
Severe allergies can also cause more bothersome asthma symptoms, such as:
- chest tightness,
- wheezing or whistling when you breathe,
- breathing rapidly,
- feeling exhausted,
- feeling anxious.
3. What causes indoor allergies during winter?
3.1. Dust mites
Where’s it found?
You can find dust mites everywhere, at any time. They thrive on your furnace and air filters, couch bed, or even lurking on your carpets inside your home. Their droppings can become airborne after mixing with household dust, causing allergy symptoms.
Why is it common?
Dust mites prefer warm, moist environments, and their dead bodies and feces can end up in household dust. Moreover, their feces contain digestive enzymes that allow them to extract energy from their waste, but this enzyme can be an allergen cocktail for humans.
Where’s it found?
We all breathe in mold spores, but exposure can cause sneezing, congestion, and itchiness for those allergic to them.
Mold can also be found indoors. It thrives in dark, moist bathrooms, basements, and beneath sinks. Mold spores float throughout the air and can be found even in unfavorable conditions. They will grow on fabric, paper, wood, glass, and plastic in the right conditions.
Why is it common?
Damp weather and dark areas can promote mold growth.
3.3. Pet dander
Where’s it found?
If you have allergies and a loved one who loves cats or dogs, you should stop them from feeding these animals. This is because pet dander and proteins from skin cells can cause an allergic reaction, especially during the winter months when you spend more time indoors.
Bear in mind that people who are allergic to pets may be sensitive to saliva, fur, or skin flecks that cats and dogs shed on almost any surface in your home. Furthermore, these can cause people to have acute or chronic allergic reactions.
Pet dander occurs on almost any indoor surface, including beds, carpets, and upholstery.
Why is it common?
Pet dander from dogs or cats can contaminate household dust and adhere to many surfaces indoors, increasing your risk of exposure.
Vacuuming can help cut down pet dander and other airborne allergens, which can help reduce your indoor allergies during the winter.
3.4. Cockroach droppings
Where’s it found?
These pests can live anywhere, and while they aren’t a sign of an unsanitary or unhygienic household, it’s essential to keep food well-contained and clean up crumbs regularly. Cockroaches can be prevented at bay by repairing leaky faucets and pipes and sealing cracks and crevices in your home.
Cockroach droppings can be found in dark, moist areas, particularly kitchen cupboards, under sinks, and behind appliances.
Why is it common?
Cockroaches can enter your home through windows, cracks in the walls, or doors as they seek warm places during the cold winter months. Long-term cockroach exposure can even cause sinus or ear infections.
4. Are allergies worse in the winter?
Allergies are caused by triggers and the body’s reaction to them. When your symptoms worsen due to pollen, you go indoors for relief. If you suffer from indoor allergies, the winter allergy season can be even worse than the spring or summer allergy season. This is because you tend to stay indoors during cold weather, which increases your exposure to winter allergens.
Allergy symptoms are exacerbated by dry air. The indoor atmosphere dries out your skin and nasal membranes during the winter because the heat is on all the time. They become irritated or cracked. Cracked skin or nosebleeds, which occur more frequently in the dry winter air, increase the risk of secondary infection. Furthermore, keeping windows and doors closed while the heating system recirculates indoor air can reduce ventilation and allow allergens to accumulate.
5. Allergies vs. cold
The symptoms of colds and winter allergies are similar. However, colds are caused by viruses and spread through contact with another infected person. At the same time, allergies are caused by an allergen or irritant and result in a histamine response.
The immune system produces a histamine response, which causes you to sneeze, tear up, or itch to defend against allergens. These reactions are intended to assist you in eliminating the allergen from your body. Because they soften the body’s response, antihistamines are commonly prescribed for allergies. And symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes are usually the result of an allergy rather than a cold or the flu, whereas 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 it’s more severe, the flu.
Timing is another clue. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), colds usually last a couple of weeks and end when your body fights off the virus, whereas allergies last as long as the allergen is present.
The allergist may perform a skin test to scratch your skin with a tiny amount of an allergen or inject it just beneath your skin. You are allergic if the affected area becomes red and itchy.
Skin prick tests can aid in the confirmation of the diagnosis and identification of the allergen. A drop of each extract is put on the person’s skin, then pricked with a needle for these tests. Doctors then examine the patient to see if there is any wheal or flare reaction (a pale, slightly elevated swelling surrounded by a red area)
If the skin test results are unclear, an allergen-specific immunoglobulin (IgE) test is performed. A blood sample is drawn and tested for this test.
Typically, no testing is required, but the nasal discharge is occasionally examined to see if it contains eosinophils (a kind of white blood cell produced in large numbers during an allergic reaction).
Take allergy medication that is available over-the-counter (OTC). When taken regularly, antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra) can effectively relieve symptoms. OTC acetaminophen (Tylenol) medications, such as Zyrtec-D, can help with related symptoms such as headaches. However, some OTC allergy medications contain decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, increasing a user’s heart rate. Furthermore, diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in the antihistamine Benadryl, causes some tissues to dry out and promotes urinary retention.
Make use of nasal sprays. Prescription-strength steroid nasal sprays can help alleviate inflammation and other symptoms such as a runny nose.
Make use of a neti pot or nasal irrigation therapy. These treatments remove allergens by passing clean, distilled water through your nasal passages.
Obtain allergy shots (immunotherapy). This work exposes you to minimal amounts of your allergens regularly to strengthen your body’s immunity to them. For several years, this results in much less severe symptoms. Ask your doctor about allergy shots if you have severe, chronic allergy symptoms.
8. How to prevent winter allergies?
An allergy cannot be avoided altogether. However, if you know you’re allergic, you can take precautions to prevent a reaction. Use the following tips to reduce your exposure to triggers:
- Moldy shower curtains, wallpaper, and carpeting should be discarded.
- Showers and sinks should be cleaned with a solution containing 5% bleach and a small amount of detergent.
- Keep the humidity inside your home below 50% to help control dust mites and mold.
- To remove dust from the air, use a HEPA air filter (high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter).
- Every week, wash bedding in hot water (130 F).
- Mattresses, pillows, and comforters should all have allergy-proof covers.
- Improve indoor air quality.
- Remove dust and dander.
- Toys are frequently cleaned.
- Clean up cockroach droppings and research cockroach control options.
- Get rid of carpeting in the house or use fewer carpets and rugs.
- Get rid of any mold that has grown in the house.
- After you or your pets have eaten, clean up any leftovers or crumbs in your kitchen or dining area.
- Repair any leaks in your bathroom, basement, roof, or pipes to prevent moisture from accumulating and provide a breeding ground for dust mites, mold, or roaches.
- Seal any cracks or openings in your doors, windows, or walls where roaches could enter or outside air could enter.
- If your loved one is allergic to pet dander and you want a pet, animals without fur are the best options. If you have a dog or cat, keep it out of your bedroom and bath it at least once a week.
In addition, during the winter holidays:
- Consider an artificial Christmas tree. Chemicals and mold can be found in living things.
- Invest in glass or plastic ornaments rather than fabric, which attracts more dust.
- Before hanging ornaments, clean them of dust.
- To keep pollen and mold at bay, don’t put wood in the fireplace until you’re ready to burn it.
Have you ever suffered from winter allergies? We’re guessing you’re exhausted from the symptoms that keep you from doing things? Luckily, you have many options for controlling your pet allergies, dust mite allergies, and other indoor allergies. Liftyolife (liftyolife.com) will be your ally in safeguarding your health and life. Let’s get ready to live an active life with seasonal allergies.
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