Allergies vs a cold in the winter


lynda-y Allergies , , , ,

Most people wouldn’t think that allergies are the reason for their cold-like symptoms in the middle of winter, who would normally, because the cause of most respiratory allergies…. is pollen and it’s not usually floating about in cold and snowy weather. Yet some of the most common winter allergies are indoor related. Dust mites, mold, cockroach droppings and animal dander top this list.


Seasonal allergies, ha-ha ha


For millions, there’s no such thing as a “seasonal allergies.” They have symptoms all year-round and, yes, that includes the winter months. This will explain it a bit better. Although pollen gives you a rest during winter, a very short rest depending on what you are allergic too, there’s no stopping for indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and indoor mold which happen all year round, you just don’t notice or get bothered as much from having the doors and windows open to being outside more.

If you’re allergic to pollen, you may get some relief when the weather gets colder. But if you have indoor allergies such as mold, dust or your beloved pet, you may notice your allergy symptoms getting worse during the winter, when you start closing up the doors and windows and use your heating system.


Cold or something more.


The symptoms of a common cold hide winter allergies, leaving people believing they just have a cold that won’t go away. But pollen can start as early as January and finish as late as November; my chart from another post explains this (tree pollen from January to May; grass pollen from March to July; weed/flowers pollen from April to November). And the indoor allergies act up when you start running the heating system more.

The following are things you should know about your allergies: Some symptoms are very similar to a common cold, such as:

Sneezing- happens when a foreign item enters the nose and your body tries to get rid of it.

Sinus cavities
Sinus cavities

Sore throat- in allergies is most often caused by postnasal drip.

Coughing – also comes from postnasal drip irritating the bottom of your throat.

Runny nose- is too much buildup of mucus.

Congestion- feeling of fullness in the sinuses, forehead, nose and eye area. Pressure on ears as well.

Rashes- skin may become scaly, bumpy, itchy, or otherwise irritated

Itchy, watery eyes- adverse immune reaction to certain substances, such as dust or pollen

I have had a “cold” for the last 3 months; most of it I believe is my allergies kicking up from being so cold outside and having to use the heating more. That in turn is pushing the allergens around the house. But I did end up with the flu and didn’t realize it for a while. I thought the cough was from postnasal drip, but I started developing the chills a fever and body aches which are not allergy symptoms. There are many things that your body does that can be attributed to other things so you have to watch and really take notice of each symptom and when something is a little off.


In most cases, when you have allergic rhinitis: You sneeze a lot, especially after you wake up. Sometimes you’ll have a cough if you are laying down or reclined, it’s the drainage from a runny nose moving down the back of your throat and is generally caused by allergies most of the time it’s clear and thin. But it may become thicker and cloudy or yellowish if you get a nasal or sinus infection. TIP: if you pinch the top of your nose and push your tongue up into the roof of your mouth, it helps keep you from sneezing. I have only had one person say this didn’t work for them, so it may not work on everyone and it won’t work if you have dentures, you can’t use your tongue to the roof of your mouth.


What is what


There are some things you can keep an eye out for though to know for sure.

Acute rhinitis is when your symptoms last less than 6 weeks, and is usually caused by a cold or infection, or temporary overexposure to just an irritant.

Chronic rhinitis is when rhinitis lasts for a longer period than 6 weeks and seem like an unending battle.

Many people think a stuffy nose is caused by too much mucus in the nasal passages. However, a clogged nose is actually caused by inflamed blood vessels in the sinuses. These irritated vessels are usually triggered by a cold, the flu, allergies, or a sinus infection.

One clue is the color of your mucus, ugh I hate that word, but there isn’t a nice way to say it. Ick. Clear, liquid mucus often signals allergies, where yellow mucus could indicate infection. If you go to a doctor make sure you find out if antibiotics are really necessary. Sometime the use of them will cause your body to build up a resistance to them and they won’t be useful when you really need them. There are many ways to clear up sinus without the use of antibiotics. Most are just viral and really aren’t effected by antibiotics, it’s usually the other stuff they tell you to do to ease discomfort is what actually makes it better.

When the air you breathe is too dry, the mucus in your nose and sinuses won’t flow right and your sinuses won’t drain like they should. Congestion can then lead to sinus pain and sinusitis. From my research, reading and talking to my doctor, sinusitis experts agree that adding humidity to the air with a humidifier is generally good for sinuses. Also, drinking plenty of water will help keep your mucus thinner. Just remember that drinking water is good for you, but never drink it too fast. Taking sips all day long is better than chugging. Slowly drinking will allow for better absorption and use of the water by your body. Drinking it to fast will irritate your stomach, make you feel fuller and have to be running to the bathroom, a LOT more and slow down the re-hydration process.


Winter Baddies the dust mite

The main winter allergy would be dust mites. They are everywhere, and the little bugs hide in dust so you can’t see them. And unless you are a clean freak and live in sterile conditions, you will more than likely have them around your house. In the winter they get blown around from the heaters or air vents in your house and are more noticeable to cause you grief because we close up everything for the winter. Dust mites prefer

Dust Mites
Dust Mites

temperatures of about 70 F or higher and humidity of 70% to 80%. They can’t live in the cold that’s why they like it inside when the heaters get cranked up. They feast on dead skin cells that humans and pets shed. There is no stopping the skin from flaking off. They can live anywhere in the homes, the furniture, mattress, carpet or under your appliances. So if you follow some of my tips in my pet allergy post, these are excellent ways to help reduce the amount of dust mites you have and help to keep you from being exposed to as many. There is no escaping them, but you can make it more manageable.


Millions of Americans are allergic to dust mites, tiny bugs you can’t see that love to live in your dust. Their waste products cause sneezing, coughing, and some respiratory issues, but at least they won’t bite you.


Things change

The way the seasons have been changing certain allergens are lasting longer while others are shorter, and this year seems to be a longer indoor season for a lot of people around the world. Many trees are starting to bloom here on the west coast, but with the snow still a threat, and freezing temps, it’s still not time to start opening up the doors and windows yet.

I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions about this or other allergies. I also found a sight that gives you 11 surprising sneezing facts that I bet you probably didn’t know. I know I sure didn’t know that sex could make you sneeze. Ooohh boy, that’s number 11 on their list and there is also some myths that people have believed but are wrong.

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Written By

Lynda Y

I am the mother of 4 grown children that I am proud of and 6 beautiful grandchildren. I have the love and support of my wonderful soulmate Brian. He stands by me no matter how hard I am to handle and for that I am eternally grateful. With his encouragement and support it has pushed me to want to do better and has encouraged me in my writing and wanting to help others. I am a beginning blogger on allergies and a product reviewer. I write my blog because when I was diagnosed with allergies, I had no help on what I was to do. I want this to be a place people can discuss and learn together how to ease the burden of the allergy seasons, whether it is seasonal, indoor, outdoor or food and lucky me, I have some of each. I love the 80's, gardening, crafts and cooking. I enjoy DIY projects and taking things that others would throw out and making useful again. I enjoy going to the beach and relaxing or camping in the woods. I love the great outdoors, football and most of all I LOVE and am very PROUD of our US MILITARY men and women.

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  1. Hi Lynda,
    My friends have problems with allergies. I recommend them your website where they can find useful information. Thank You for interesting post. Good job.
    Best regards!

    1. Hello Maja, thank you for the recommend I appreciate it. I am trying to share my experiences and save people from suffering, spendy dr’s and medicine that probably isn’t helping. Thank you for your kind words. Have a wonderful day

  2. Lynda, this article was very informative! I myself always thought of allergies as “seasonal” and never thought to consider that some of my cold like symptoms could actually be related to this. I also like how you broke down the symptoms and what causes them. I have 3 boys and it feels like they are constantly taking turns feeling under the weather. Your post gave me lots to think about the next time I catch some of these symptoms!


    1. Hi Jennie, I am glad you now have options to look at. There are lots of allergens all around and in the winter and it is harder cuz you have everything closed up and trying to stay warm. I have 4 kids of my own and we did that ever year. I also have a couple more posts on how to help ease symptoms during the winter and also if you have pets, that could cause part of your icky feelings. Feel free to check out some of my other posts. I am trying to share my experiences and hoping to keep people from unnecessary medications and expensive dr visits. good luck and hopefully this nasty season is almost over.


  3. Very informative article. I have never been an allergy sufferer and would not have thought that allergies were a winter concern.

    I also read your article on Apple Cider Vinegar. It is popping up all over with many benefits. I was surprised that you hadn’t included weight loss as one of the noted things it is used for. My hubbie has used it and had very good results. He is a large man and has lost about 30 lbs in four months.

    I was reading to article to see if it advised how much to take for this purpose as I have read conflicting amounts. Is there a safe level to consume daily?

    1. Thank you, a lot of people don’t realize that, they attribute it to being winter I’m just sick and what is ridiculous is doctors are willing to go by that and just prescribe unnecessary medication without looking for anything else, because “it is going around” allergy symptoms have a lot in common with a cold.

      congrats to your husband that is great. I didn’t add a lot of things to the list of what it is good for such as hair, arthritis, acne, skin toner, wart and mole remover, pet care the list goes on and on and I was just focusing on the parts where it related to anything that helped ease allergies. And I know that the blood pressure/ cholesterol doesn’t, but I feel that if you lower those it improves overall health and thus helps your immune system and I’ve seen the effects of strokes. I am eventually going to do another article on ACV with other benefits and include weight loss in it. I’ve seen almost 200 uses for ACV.

      I have never found an exact answer to how much is safe, but from a lot of sites, and research it looks like they recommend about 6 Tablespoons or 18 teaspoons a day depending on how well you can handle it. Everyone’s bodies react to things differently, some people can’t handle (The bad) as much and I would say maybe start with 1tsp 3x a day and slowly work up to the 2tbs 3x a day in drinks, smoothies etc. I don’t use it as a drink, so I usually put in 1-2 tbsp in some of my food that i cook and eat the gummy treats I posted. but I stick to a smaller dose, because I may be allergic to it. 

      Good luck feel free to let me know how it goes and what works.


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