With the holidays in full swing and Spring still months away, many Georgians may be wondering, do my allergies get worse or better during the winter? When people hear the term “seasonal allergies,” they tend to think of Spring and Summer, when the sun comes out again and plants and flowers start to bloom. Yet, the fact of the matter is that allergies are a year-round concern for some, with severity improving or worsening only slightly depending on the time of year.
What to Expect This Winter
Unfortunately, the simple answer to whether your allergies are going to get better or worse this winter is: There is no simple answer. If you are allergic to pollen and find yourself more congested when you are outside in nature, then you may be in luck. The lack of growing greenery in the winter and the general tendency to spend more time inside can definitely be a nice change of pace for those whose noses tend to run during the warmer months.
However, there are a whole set of other allergens you should look out for in the winter, depending on how sensitive your sinuses are. While not everybody is affected by these allergens, they do present a completely new set of challenges to allergy-sufferers who spend a lot of time indoors.
Major causes of winter allergies include:
- Dust-mites: Sadly, these microscopic critters that reside in mattresses and bedding often flourish during the stuffy winter months, leaving droppings that can inflame allergies in a major way when they become airborne.
- Mold: A fungus that lives in damp areas, including bathrooms and basements, mold spores are guaranteed to make allergy symptoms worse when they end up in the air.
- Pollutants: Pollutants such as smoke from indoor fires often cause irritation for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis and asthma—something to think about before you throw that extra log on the hearth.
- Dander: While animal fur itself is not a major allergen, the protein found in your cat or dog’s dander may be the reason one friend breaks out in sneezing fits around your pet.
Treating Winter Allergies
While the causes for winter allergies may be very specific, the treatments are often similar to those you would use year-round. You can keep taking the same types of medicines you would normally rely on, in addition to using a dehumidifier, which you may find additionally helpful during the winter months.
Treatments for winter allergies include:
- Taking antihistamines;
- Taking decongestants;
- Bleaching showers and sinks;
- Throwing out household items that may have mold on them; and
- Using a dehumidifier.
If you have taken all these precautions and your allergies are still irritating you, it may be time to talk to a professional about immunotherapy. Through the use of allergy shots and other treatments, an experienced healthcare provider can reduce allergy symptoms, not just in the winter months but during all 4 the seasons.
Call the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia Today
At the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, treating sinonasal and upper-respiratory conditions is not only our primary mission, it’s all we do. Whether you are suffering from childhood or adult asthma, chronic sinusitis, pulmonary conditions, or various types of allergies, our allergists and physicians want to help. By providing comprehensive care that goes beyond managing your symptoms to treating them long-term, we hope to help the people of Georgia breathe easier, and live happier.