Winter Brings Cold, Snow…and Sometimes Allergies!

A person with allergies might be excited to escape symptoms during the winter. Unfortunately, depending on what people are allergic to, their allergies may actually be worse in the winter months.

winter allergy

Pollen is not the villain here. It’s the indoor allergens – dust mites, mold, and animal dander. Since winter is when people stay indoors more, it’s easier for those allergens to make people miserable.

Winter Allergy Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy nose, throat, and eyes
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Watery eyes

Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate allergy from a cold or flu due to the similarities of their symptoms. A couple key differences are the duration of the illness (colds and flu don’t usually last for more than 10 days but allergies can last for months). Also, while flu and cold can come with a fever, allergies generally do not.

Allergens inside the House

Since most allergens are microscopic, noticing their presence seems challenging. Here are three common allergens to look out for and where they commonly reside.

1. Mold.
Lurks in humid or damp areas. Bathrooms and basements are two of their favorite places. Spores are airborne and easily inhaled.

2. Dust mites.
These tiny bugs usually live in bedding, mattresses, couch cushions, and rugs and carpet. It’s their casings and/or droppings that become airborne which
can cause allergy symptoms.

3. Animal Dander.
Pets such as cats or dogs may bring outdoor allergens inside (in their fur). Also, proteins found in their dander (dead skin flakes) can incite allergy

Tips to Reduce Indoor Allergen Exposure

  • Make sure to keep humidity below 40 percent to minimize dust mites.
  • Replace carpets with wood, laminate, or tile flooring
  • Avoid contact with pets and minimize the time they spend in living areas and bedrooms where allergen-sensitive family members stay
  • Clean the house regularly to keep dust from building up. Use a damp mop.
  • Wash the family’s bedding in hot water once a week. This will help stop the build up of bedding mites.

If you or your child suffers from winter allergies despite your best efforts to eliminate allergens inside the house, consider allergy treatment using sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops). Contact AllergyEasy for further details.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.