Winter Allergies

Indoor allergies are more common in winter when it is cold because people spend more time indoors. Also, when heating units are turned on, especially if an indoor heating filter has not been recently changed, allergens can get stirred up and concentrated more inside.

These allergens can include dust mites, animal dander (dead skin flakes), cockroach droppings, and indoor mildew and molds. When the heat is turned up indoors, it can make your nasal passages drier, causing skin irritation inside the nose. This can worsen inflammation when someone already has allergies, making them worse. These allergies can be minimized by vacuuming carpets regularly, not having wall-to-wall carpeting, using an indoor HEPA filter, keep pets groomed and bathed once a week, washing sheets in very hot water to kill dust mites, and use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers to keep dust mites trapped inside the pillows and mattresses.

Nasal sprays such as an over the counter saline-based nasal spray can be used multiple times a day to keep the mucus membranes moist. Oral antihistamines such as Cetirizine, Fexofenadine, and Loratadine and nasal sprays such as Azelastine can help minimize allergy symptoms. For very refractory symptoms, immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a very effective long term solution. A humidifier by your bed at night can also help.