Cold weather brings thoughts of bundling up, sitting by the fire, and staying indoors. The windows are closed, and the heat is on. More time indoors means an increased amount of time around winter allergens. While you do not have to worry about hay fever and pollen, you do need to concern yourself with dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroach droppings. What are some concerns regarding winter allergens?
Cold or Allergy
Unlike spring/summer allergies, in the winter. you are more likely to catch a cold. Along with being inside around allergens for longer periods, you are also inside around others for longer periods of time. With people coughing around you and sneezing, you are bound to become sick. It is important to know the difference between an allergy or a cold to make sure you alleviate the symptoms the best way.
One of the main differences between a cold or allergy is the presence of body aches and fever. Body aches and fever are not caused by an allergy. If you have these symptoms, you have a cold. Additionally, allergies will come on rapidly, where colds will begin gradually. A cold will also resolve faster than allergies.
The type of allergen will help determine where you need to look. As an example, pet dander can be found anywhere your pet will lay down or walk around. These areas include furniture, pet beds, anything they rub on or against, and the flooring they walk across. Dust mites are normally found on furniture, in bedding, and on carpeting. Mold needs moisture to flourish. Best places to look include bathrooms, basements, sink areas, and any regularly steamy environment. Cockroach droppings will usually be hidden inside cabinets, under appliances, and behind appliances. It’s best when looking for winter allergens to do a thorough sweep around the house to determine any particular problem areas.
Like their springtime counterparts, winter allergens produce sniffling, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, and potentially scratchy throats. They can also produce trouble breathing, irritate asthma symptoms, and if severe enough, cause fatigue.
Allergy medicine that is available over the counter can be your first level of defense. If you’ve been to the allergist. you might have had an allergy test which can tell you specifically what types of allergens affect you. From this, the doctor can put together a solution of a small number of your allergens to inject into yourself (allergy shots) that will allow your body to create defenses against these intruders. Other options include rinsing out your nasal passages with a saline solution.