Do You Have Winter Allergies? All You Need to Know About It

Do You Have Winter Allergies? All You Need to Know About It

Are you feeling the intensity of allergies more than usual in the winter season? You might be living with different types of allergies. Cold old air, dry, cold weather, smoke, dust mites, molds, animal furs, dander, and many other factors may be responsible for a sudden trigger of symptoms of winter allergies. Although there is usually nothing serious about winter allergies, ignorance must be the last thing you would want. If you are not aware of possible causes of allergies during the winter or habitually ignore them, you may face a lot of problems in winter.

In this guide, we will highlight some very important aspects of allergies that haunt you every winter. What are the possible causes of winter allergies? How can you manage them at home? What are the best possible treatments? And much more. Get ready to immerse in some very important information!

What Are Winter Allergies and What’s Specific About Them?

The winter allergy is not something very alien. It’s very similar to all other variants of seasonal allergies. The term “winter allergy” houses the answer in itself, as the intensity of allergy and associated symptoms increase, particularly in winter.

There is another very interesting aspect of winter allergy. As you are supposed to spend more time indoors due to chilly weather outside, you are more prone to indoor allergens like airborne dust particles, molds, pet dander, cockroach, rat droppings, etc.

So, we can conclude that there is not something very specific or special about winter allergy. It’s more about the time of the year. You may develop similar allergies with the very same intensity from very same triggers in other parts of the year as well! Ultimately, it boils down to how your body reacts to cold weather. Let’s put some more light on various causes of allergies during the winter.

Common Triggers of Winter Allergies

As we have discussed, there might be a myriad of triggers that can induce winter allergy. Here are some common factors that are expected to affect you more on chilly days than in other parts of the year.

1. Allergy Due to Winter Cedar Pollens

Also called commonly “cedar fever,” it is an allergic trigger due to mountain cedar trees. It is among the common causes of allergies during the winter, mainly in South and Central Texas and nearby areas.

Mountain cedar tree is native to Texas and pollinates throughout the winter, from December to March. It is usually the only pollen affecting humans, as well as animals in it, ’s growing areas. Sometimes, the mountain cedar trees release an unbelievable number of pollens, so much so that the trees may appear to be on fire, with large sheets of pollens moving all around the cultivation areas.

If not given proper and timely attention, pollens from mountain cedar can cause symptoms similar to hay fever, including itchy, runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, etc.

Some people may even have a slight rise in body temperature (not higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.6 degrees Celsius). If you have a raised body temperature, you probably don’t have cedar fever.

2. Runny Nose in Cold Weather – The Paramount of All Winter Allergies

As the temperature starts dipping in different parts of the world, people start thinking about purchasing some extra packets of tissues – of course, to combat the runny noses. It’s usually not due to allergy but caused by vasomotor rhinitis. Yes, there might be so many different triggers of vasomotor rhinitis symptoms (nasal inflammation). Some common causes are windy weather, low humidity, strong odors, smoke, perfumes, sudden dip in atmospheric temperatures, etc.

3. Mold Allergies in the Winter

Like other weathers, molds can also be one of the major causes of allergies during the winter. Your life may get miserable in winter if you are allergic to molds. Airborne molds are very common causes of symptoms of allergic rhinitis as well as asthma. Molds can be present outdoors in open-air, especially from late winter to early spring, throughout the rainy season. Also, they might be present indoors, depending on the moisture levels of your home. Molds survive very well in areas with high humidity. If your home or office always remains humid, you may notice various winter allergy symptoms due to molds.

4. Christmas Tree Syndrome

Some people feel immense discomfort when they are exposed to pine trees during holidays. If you notice itchy, red bumps around your nose and cheeks with a runny nose with worsening of symptoms in the peak of winter, you may have Christmas tree dermatitis, also known as “Christmas Tree Syndrome.” How can you get a trigger of allergy from the Christmas tree?

Mold surviving on the Christmas tree is usually the culprit.

An artificial Christmas tree is not good either, especially if stored in a damp basement or dusty.

People may have allergies to different components of the Christmas tree.

How Can You Prevent Winter Allergies During Christmas Holidays?

  • Give the real Christmas trees regular showers to ensure there are no molds, pollens, or dirt.
  • Cover yourself adequately while decorating – try wearing a mask, if possible.
  • Ensure proper storage space for fake trees.
  • If you get an allergy even after trying all these tricks, try celebrating with artificial trees only.

5. Cold Urticaria

Cold urticaria is a skin response to the winter season and cold temperature. People prone to cold urticaria usually develop symptoms within a few minutes after exposure to cold weather.

People with cold urticaria may experience a wide range of minor and major symptoms. Some people may have fainting, low blood pressure, and even shock while swimming in cold water.

Young adults are more prone to cold urticaria. Some common symptoms are:

  • Temporary, reddish, itchy patches on the skin exposed to cold.
  • Swelling of hands, particularly when holding objects.
  • Swelling of lips while eating or drinking.
  • Reaction gets worse with the natural warmth of the skin.

Severe symptoms of cold urticaria may include:

  • Anaphylaxis – Response from the whole body, including the racing of the heart, swelling of torso or limbs, fainting, shock, etc.
  • Swelling of throat and tongue, causing difficulty breathing.
  • If you notice any of these symptoms, especially in winter, don’t waste any time and meet a dermatologist.

Life with Winter Allergies and Some Common Health Conditions

Dealing with winter allergies can give you a wide range of experiences, depending on the severity of the allergic symptoms and trigger factors. But, if you are already dealing with some other health conditions, winter allergy can only make the matter worse. Dealing with winter allergy symptoms with these health problems can be very challenging. Let’s try to understand what it means to live with winter allergies and common health problems.

1. Winter Allergies and Asthma

A combination of winter allergies and asthma can ruin your holidays. As the holiday season is themed with alcohol, unhealthy foods, and unhealthy sleeping patterns, asthmatic subjects may find it very arduous to deal with allergic reactions.

You won’t find it very difficult to live in a state with 10-12 months of cold weather. However, if you live in warmer climates, a few months of cold days may force you to pay a bit heavier than you are expecting. Pollen and mold allergies, in particular, can cause serious problems for asthmatic people.

Asthmatics are very sensitive even to indoor allergens, and a combination of a festive environment and poor sleep may trigger asthma symptoms. Pine is the most preferred scent during Christmas, but it’s not the best thing for people living with asthma. Similarly, fireworks and smoke can make life very uncomfortable.

Is There a Solution?

Yes, plenty of them indeed. If you are asthmatic and suddenly start feeling various winter allergy symptoms, you can help yourself by keeping these simple points in mind.

  • Ask your family or friend to wash the Christmas tree outside before bringing it to your place.
  • Ensure fireplaces are properly ventilated so that you don’t feel suffocated.
  • Maintain a safe distance from fireworks and smoke.
  • Ensure using proper space heaters to avoid extra humidity inside.
  • Avoid certain foods, including sugars, wheat, and dairy products, until the end of winters.

2. Allergy-Induced Dizziness

Various allergens may be responsible for allergy-induced dizziness. If you have an allergy to certain substances like dander, pollen, or dust, your body starts releasing various chemicals, including histamine, to face off these unwanted intruders. These chemicals are responsible for why you get different allergy symptoms like

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Sinus congestion
  • Coughing
  • Postnasal drip

Your Eustachian may get affected by different allergies. The eustachian tube is a tunnel bridging your middle ear with the posterior throat and regulates internal pressure. The eustachian tube also balances the internal air pressure with that of external ambient pressure.

When you start feeling symptoms in your ears like that annoying, clogged feeling and difficulty hearing, it might be possible that one or both of Eustachian tubes are affected with allergens. The Eustachian tube or middle ear disturbance may induce some uncommon winter allergy symptoms like dizziness and lightheadedness.

3. Winter allergies and headache

Can winter allergies trigger migraine attacks? To a certain extent, the reposte is yes. Seasonal allergies, including winter allergies, may induce migraine symptoms, including severe, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting, etc.

In particular, allergic rhinitis may induce inflammation of nasal passage and can interrupt your sleep, and as a result, you may get repeated episodes of migraine. Sometimes, allergic medications like Albuterol inhalers may also trigger migraines.

Both allergic rhinitis and migraine are very, very common and may even co-exist in some people. People with chronic migraines may develop symptoms of allergic rhinitis and vise versa.

How Can You Prevent Winter Allergies?

As there is no full-proved cure for winter allergies, prevention from possible triggers is the best way to manage your allergy. For example, avoiding exposure to pollens, especially when the count is high, can be immensely helpful. If you are susceptible to dust mites, you would want to go for a dust-mite-proof cover for your mattress.

Here Are Some Important Tips to Manage Winter Allergies

  • Maintain an indoor humidity of less than 50 percent to minimize the chances of dust mites.
  • Avoid using wall-to-wall carpet, especially those designed to use over concrete. Carpet and rugs may trap the animal dander and molds and increase the dampness, creating a favorable environment for molds and mites.
  • Avoid overexposure with your pets, and try to keep them away from your bedroom to reduce the allergic triggers possibly.
  • Bathe your pet animals at least once a week to keep the winter allergy symptoms at bay. This way, you will successfully remove dander and other allergens from their fur.
  • Whenever you spend some playing time with your pets, ensure changing your clothes, washing your hair before retiring to bed.
  • Wash your bedclothes and pillow covers at least once a week to reduce the possible accumulation of dust mites.
  • Whenever you go on a home-cleaning mission, try using moist mops to avoid possible stirring up of dust.
  • Avoid the possible growth of molds by mopping the wet surfaces immediately.
  • Bring face masks to your rescue and use them throughout the winter while roaming outside.
  • Avoid vacuuming or dusting your place, at least in the winter months.

Winter allergies are not very harmful but can be massively annoying for some. Finding the exact allergy triggers is very difficult, but dealing with the allergies can be slightly easier once you are successful. It doesn’t matter, what are your causes of allergies during the winter, “prevention is better than cure” is the most suitable approach. Hopefully, you are now well aware of winter allergies and different important aspects related to them. If you are severely affected by allergies, we recommend you to get in touch with a licensed medical practitioner to get proper help on how to lead a potentially normal life with winter allergies.