Though springtime comes in a close second, it is fall that takes the title as the leading season for allergies. Exceptionally high pollen counts, dying plants, and prime conditions for mold growth all contribute to what many consider a perfect storm. After enduring coughing, sneezing, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms, many sufferers of fall allergies are extremely eager for the cool temperatures of winter to roll around. Unfortunately, the problems do not always end with the season of autumn. Winter allergies, though a bit less common than fall or spring allergies, still exist–and they can cause quite the headache (both literally and figuratively) for millions of allergy sufferers. In this article, we will discuss the causes, prevention, and treatment of wintertime allergies.
Why is it that allergies continue to bother so many people even after winter has rolled around? In most cases, this is because those allergies are not all necessarily related to pollen or any other plant-based allergen. Instead, those suffering from winter allergies may wish to look for other causes, such as dust mites, molds, or pets. If your allergies are not plant related, there is no reason for them to end with the seasons. Alternatively, it could be that your allergies are plant related, but that warmer-than-usual weather has allowed plant-based allergens to remain in the air.
There is one other possible explanation for experiencing symptoms such as sneezing and coughing during winter months: the flu. Oftentimes, a flu can create very allergy-like symptoms, which can mislead allergy sufferers into thinking that their allergies have followed them into the winter months!
Here are a few basic rules of thumb that can help you distinguish between allergies and the flu.
● The flu often causes fever; allergies rarely do.
● The flu often causes aching; allergies rarely do.
● Allergies can last for weeks; the flu rarely lasts longer than 5-7 days.
● Allergies frequently cause itchy, runny eyes; the flu rarely does.
If you have determined that your symptoms are, indeed allergies–and that they are not simply a plant-related continuation of fall allergies–then you are going to need to take a few steps in order to limit or eliminate your exposure to indoor allergens.
The most common indoor allergens, as mentioned earlier, are dust mites, mold, and pet hair. There are distinct reasons why each of these allergy types tends to get worse during the winter months: we are spending more time indoors, which means more exposure time–and, additionally, furnaces tend to spread these allergens around more in the winter. (Especially in the case of dust mites.)
A deep cleaning is often the best way to reduce symptoms. Cleaning inside of vents, on and under furniture, and in other trouble spots are all important ways of limiting exposure to indoor allergens–just make sure to shower immediately after cleaning in order to get the allergens you exposed yourself to off your clothes and body as quickly as possible.
Finally, if you have deep cleaned and continue to experience allergy symptoms, an over the counter medication can help control your symptoms. Consider DayClear® for powerful relief. Visit us online to learn more!