People generally associate seasonal allergies to the onset of the warmer months and high pollen counts. But, for those that suffer from indoor allergies, the winter months, when more time is spent indoors and the windows are closed, can be just as bad.
Is it Allergies or the Common Cold?
Winter allergies are often mistaken for the common cold. However, one major difference between allergies and the cold is that a cold will usually clear up within three to five days whereas allergy symptoms will persist. Furthermore, a cold will produce nasal secretions that are discolored and may be accompanied by chills and aches. Winter allergies will produce clear, water nasal secretions and may cause an itchy throat and eyes.
What are the Causes of Winter Allergies?
Mold and mildew may grow more in the winter months in areas of the home, like bathrooms, where there is are a higher level of humidity. Also, during the early winter months, leaves and yard waste on the ground breed mildew which can then be tracked into the house. Mold may also be carried indoors on damp wood used for fires and wood stoves.
Allergies to pet dander can intensify in the winter months when pets are indoors more and your exposure to the dander increases.
Dust mites are a common cause of allergies and might be exacerbated when spending a lot of time indoors.
How Can I Manage Winter Allergies?
There are several things you can do to keep winter allergies at bay:
- Vacuum, mop, and dust regularly
- Wash bedding on a weekly basis in water of at least one hundred and thirty degrees
- Consider buying bedding that is hypoallergenic
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in the home
- Drink more water to avoid dehydration and try a saline solution to relieve nasal congestions
- Talk with your doctor about the best medicines and/or treatments to use
Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat is available to answer your questions. Give us a call at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment!