Visit our New Mexico site at lynxnm.healthcare

Common Winter Allergies

When you think of seasonal allergies, winter is probably not the season that comes to mind.

But just because most outside plant life is dead or hibernating, allergies don’t go away. If you’re starting to sneeze or have other symptoms, and have ruled out a virus, there’s a good chance you may have winter allergies.

There’s a good reason why winter may bring about allergies. First off, when it’s cold outside, people tend to spend more time indoors, with the windows closed. A lack of fresh air circulating in the home forces us to breathe in allergens we might not normally breathe in. Furthermore, forced air heaters tend to circulate dust mites, lint, pet dander, and bacteria.

Let’s talk about some of the most common winter allergies and tips on how to manage them.

Dust Mites

If you are allergic to dust mites, you may notice that your allergies tend to get worse during the winter. When we’re stuck indoors in the winter, this lack of ventilation can cause dust to circulate, triggering your allergies.

To prevent this from happening, try reducing the amount of dust in your home by vacuuming regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, which can capture even fine dust particles. In addition, when it’s cold out, we tend to bring out more blankets to keep us warm. The problem is that those blankets have probably gathered quite a bit of dust since you’ve last used them. To prevent this from happening, air blankets outside and then wash them on the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Pet Dander

If you suffer from allergies to pet dander, your flare-ups may be worse in the winter as well. Just as we humans stay inside more during the winter, so do our animal friends. If you have a pet, be sure to vacuum more regularly than usual during the winter. If possible, try to keep your pets off your bed and the couch. Grooming animals can also help prevent extra shedding. Be sure to groom them outside of the home, so the dander doesn’t get trapped inside.

Mold

Mold can be found practically anywhere moisture can get trapped, such as the kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, on firewood, and even in houseplants. Mold releases spores into the air. An allergic reaction can occur when these spores are inhaled or come into contact with a person’s skin. The lack of ventilation in the home in wintertime can exacerbate mold allergies. If you’re allergic to mold, keep your house as well-ventilated as possible by opening a window every so often to allow fresh air to circulate in the house. Other tips for reducing the risk of mold include limiting the amount of houseplants you have and keeping firewood outside.

Wool

Who doesn’t love cute scarves, hats, sweaters this time of year? However, these cozy wool items can cause skin irritation, which can range from a mild itch to weeping blisters. If you’re sensitive to wool but insist on wearing woolen garments, go for ones that are made from higher-grade wools such as Merino. If you have severe contact dermatitis, you should avoid wool altogether.

Fireplace Smoke

A cozy, roaring fire on a cold winter day: sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that beautiful fire could be causing your allergies to flare up. Smoke from wood fires is an irritant that can cause itchy eyes, a sore throat, and congestion. To prevent this from happening, be sure that your fireplace has proper ventilation. Also, avoid sitting close to the fireplace.

Christmas Tree

Who would have thought that your beautiful Christmas tree could be causing your allergies to worsen? Reasons for this can include the pollen and mold spores that can attach themselves to the tree. The strong odor from the tree can also trigger your allergies. If you find you’re allergic to live Christmas trees, consider an artificial one.

Don’t let winter allergies get you down. Lynx Healthcare has a board-certified allergist-immunologist on staff who is specially trained to treat asthma and other allergy and immune system-related diseases. To make an appointment at one of our Lynx Healthcare clinics in Oregon, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Goldendale, call us at (509) 591-0070, or contact our Spokane clinic at (509) 321-4575.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is an interventional pain procedure?

Chronic pain is debilitating, and no one wants to live with it. If you are one of the millions of Americans living with chronic pain, you may be struggling to find an effective solution to relieve pain.

How Effective Is PRP Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is steadily gaining popularity for use in treating musculoskeletal conditions, especially knee pain. Currently, PRP therapy is used to treat athletes with injuries in order to speed up the healing process.

A Comparative Review on Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

The bones that make up your spine can weaken and break resulting in chronic back pain, hunched posture, and lost height. It usually occurs when a bloc-like part of the spine’s vertebrae become compressed due to trauma or disease.

Recovery Process for an Opioid Dependency

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 218,000 people in the United States have died from overdose related to prescription opioids. That number represents deaths between 1990 and 2017...

Why Should I See a Physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal problems. Their primary focus is on using nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain and improve mobility which has been affected by an injury or healt