If you suffer from allergies, you might tend to think of winter as your season of relief. Many of the pollen, grasses, and weeds that cause your itchy eyes and runny nose in the spring, summer, and fall are dormant, so you think you’re home free.
But home might just be where the problem comes in.
In the winter, the cold temperatures and nasty weather drive us indoors for days at a time, so we’re within our four walls for many more hours than during the rest of the year.
While there’s not one specific cause of winter allergies, they do tend to flare up the more time we spend inside. We’re around triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, and mold, so winter allergies often kick in.
Winter allergies aren’t one specific condition, but they are caused by constant exposure to common allergens in the home, such as the following:
Dust is a big one. It includes skin flakes from people and pets, dirt particles brought in from outside, crumbs, and more. All this tends to get caught in carpet fibers, furniture upholstery, and bedding. Even when you try to clean, vacuuming releases more dust into the air.
Mold tends to hide inside, in damp bathrooms and basements, and it releases spores that float through the air in your home. Pet allergies are also worse in winter due to closer contact with the dander that’s released from pets to get embedded in furniture, carpets, and bedding.
Feet allergies can be another winter problem. Your feet are naturally dry because they don’t have oil glands; the cool, dry air combines with low humidity and hot showers to produce dry, red, flaky skin on your feet that can peel or crack.
Symptoms of all these allergic reactions include itchy, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, dark circles under your eyes, sore throat, and more.
There are two main ways to deal with winter allergies: getting rid of the allergens and using medical treatment.
Steps to help remove or reduce allergens from your home include frequent dusting and vacuuming, replacing carpets with hard floor, reducing decorative pillows and throws, washing bedding regularly in hot water, grooming your pets often, switching your HVAC filter often, and using a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to maintain appropriate humidity levels.
Medical treatment can include over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays along with pain relievers as necessary for headaches. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications if these are not helpful enough in reducing your symptoms.
If you’ve taken all the steps you can and you still can’t beat your winter allergies on your own, our professional, caring team at Voss Family Clinic would love to help you get your allergies under control. Just call our office at 281-918-8759 or use our easy online scheduler to book your own appointment anytime!