Winter Allergies: an Overview

Many people associate allergies with the spring and summer months, when the pollen count is high and they’re spending a great deal of time outside. For pollen allergy sufferers, winter generally means a reprieve from the symptoms that plague them the rest of the year. However, many allergies actually get worse in winter because the allergens are located indoors. Common winter allergies include mold, dust mites, and animal dander.

All of the these allergens are located inside the home, meaning that spending increased time indoors can trigger or worsen allergy symptoms. Turning your heating system or furnace on can also make the symptoms worse, because your home’s heating system can send mold spores, pet dander, and dust particles into the air and distribute them throughout your home. Common symptoms associated with winter allergies include coughing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, sneezing, and dark circles under the eyes.  

The above symptoms are often mistaken for those of a cold or flu, both of which are also prominent in the wintertime. If your symptoms persist for more than 10 days, it may be winter allergies, because colds generally don’t last that long. Another sign that you’re afflicted with winter allergies is if your symptoms are unaccompanied by aches or soreness, both of which are common indications of the flu.  

To keep the symptoms of winter allergies at bay, you should wash all bedding and curtains regularly and have your home inspected for mold. Using a dehumidifier can also help.

Dr. Summit Shah

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