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.
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
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.
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.