Winter Allergies: Why Year-Round Treatment Is Crucial
When it comes to allergy season, spring and fall tend to steal the spotlight. However, winter allergies are also common, and they can put a damper on these cold months.
Allergens are still lurking around, even in the late winter months
Just because pollen isn’t in the air doesn’t mean that allergens—things that cause allergies—are gone. Winter may bring relief to those who are allergic to pollen, but indoor allergens are still present. This is one reason why it’s so important to have allergy treatment year round.
In fact, according to information from the Mayo Clinic even your heater can cause problems by sending allergen particles into the air. When inhaled, they can create the same allergy symptoms seen in the spring and fall.
These indoor allergies can include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Insect or roach droppings
Winter is a good time to curl up in front of a fireplace with a nice cup of cocoa—unless you have inhalant allergies. While wood smoke and tobacco smoke are not allergens themselves, they can still affect you. Therefore, it’s best to limit your use of fireplaces, according to information from the Cleveland Clinic.
Perhaps one reason that winter allergies don’t get the attention and press they deserve is because they share a lot of symptoms with the common cold, and you may not even be aware that allergens are behind your sneezing and stuffy nose.
Can you tell the difference between an allergy and the common cold?
Colds are more common in winter, and since they share some of the same symptoms as allergies, it can be difficult to tell them apart. For example, they can both demonstrate
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Sore throat
However, these questions can help you determine which is which.
How long have you had these symptoms?
While allergies can last months, the duration of a cold is usually three to 14 days.
Does your body ache?
Colds can sometimes make you feel achy, but allergies never do.
Are your eyes itchy or watery?
Then it’s most likely you have an allergy—this symptom is fairly rare with the common cold.
How to minimize your chances of getting winter allergies
There are few things more frustrating than looking forward to a wonderful family event only to have the good time hampered by allergies. Often, the best allergy treatment is to avoid exposure to things that will agitate them. You should consider:
- Using a HEPA filter vacuum. These filters are 99.97 proficient in capturing particles 0.3 microns
- Keeping home humidity levels low—aim for 40 to 50 percent
- Washing bedding weekly
- Removing mold
- Keeping indoor pets out of the bedroom
- Placing dehumidifiers in damp areas, particularly basements
If you need allergy treatment, there are several options to help you
The only way to get year-round relief from the miserable inconvenience of allergies is for one of our local ear nose and throat doctors at Raleigh Capitol ENT to provide a plan tailored to fit your needs. Some of the most common forms of treatment include:
Immunotherapy involves exposing the body to a diluted version of the allergen in order to gradually build up a resistance to it.
There are two types of immunotherapy. One, subcutaneous immunotherapy is more widely known as “allergy shots.” Another type if sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), where instead of shots, drops are placed under the tongue. This is a great option for children or those who don’t like needles.
If over-the-counter medications have not provided relief, we can work with you to determine a prescriptive alternative.
Interested in learning more? You’ll find lots of useful information in our following articles:
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Allergy Treatment
- The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your ENT Before Allergy Season
- Four Effective Treatments for Children’s Allergies
Ready to find relief from your winter allergies? Schedule an appointment to talk to one of our doctors for allergy treatment in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and nearby areas.
Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose, and Throat is the area’s premiere physician-owned ENT practice with six convenient locations throughout Wake County. Our board-certified physicians have extensive experience in treating both common and complex cases to help adults and children alike. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us.