Winter can mean a lot of different things, but for allergy sufferers, the best part of winter is that there’s no pollen in the air. But no pollen doesn’t necessarily mean no allergies. Unfortunately, the winter can be as bad a season as any other for allergies. So how can you ease your allergy symptoms this time of year? Keep reading below to learn everything you need to know about treating your winter allergies.
Allergies or a Cold?
Winter is also cold and flu season. Unless you are a trained medical professional, it can be challenging to determine the cause of your sinus symptoms. But, if you’re questioning your runny nose and itchy eyes this season, you may be able to blame allergies. Both colds and allergies share a few similar symptoms, like congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.
Colds, however, are caused by viral infections and typically last a couple of weeks. Fever and aches can also indicate a cold or flu. Allergies are the body’s immune system response to a trigger or irritant, and these symptoms will last as long as you are in contact with the allergen. You are likely to experience itchy, watery eyes with allergies, too. Coughing can sometimes be a symptom of allergies, but more often than not, it is the sign of a cold.
Winter Allergy Triggers
During this season, allergies are caused by outdoor factors as much as indoor allergens. And, if the cold weather is forcing you to spend more time indoors this season, you may experience an increase in your allergy symptoms. A few common indoor allergens include:
- Dust Mites: These common pests are invisible to the naked eye. They form in carpet, bedding, pillows, and upholstered furniture. During the winter, they die, and their decomposing bodies and feces can cause allergy symptoms.
- Mold Spores: Mold can cause allergy problems year-round, but especially during the wet winter months. Mold growth usually occurs in bathrooms and basements.
- Animal Dander: Like mold, this can be an issue all year long. However, you may notice your allergy symptoms more during the winter because you are spending more time indoors.
Reducing the Impact of Winter Allergies
Winter allergies are only made worse by the cold-weather lifestyle that causes people to spend more time inside. People turn up their heat, which makes the air in their homes a lot drier. This causes dry noses, which increases the chances of nosebleeds and skin cracking.
As if this weren’t bad enough, it also increases the risk of infection to your already-inflamed nasal passages. To reduce the impact of allergies, and avoid a secondary infection, use the tips below:
- Use a nasal saline rinse to clear mucus out of your nasal passages and decrease the chances of developing a secondary infection.
- Get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting, since it is where dust mites love to hang out. Instead, install a different flooring material and use area rugs.
- Dust, clean, and vacuum every week. It’s best to use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Use a humidifier to limit the dryness in the air. Just be sure to keep the humidity level at or below 50 percent. Dust mites and mold spores both thrive in areas of high humidity.
- Wash your sheets every week using hot water to kill any remaining dust mites. Put a hypoallergenic cover on your mattress and pillows.
- To reduce pet dander in the room, bathe your dog once a week, and prevent any animals from entering the bedrooms of those with allergies.
Talk to Your Doctor
Sometimes, minimizing the effects of winter allergies isn’t enough; there are medical treatments available that can help relieve your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about holistic allergy treatment in Arlington Heights, IL. They will be able to provide you with a suitable treatment plan for your winter allergies. Contact us at Midwest Allergy Relief Centers to learn more about how we can help.