Most people associate allergies with the fall and spring, but they can occur any time of the year, including winter! Seasonal allergies may produce similar symptoms, even if they have different sources. Seasonal allergies in the winter are generally attributed to indoor allergens such as mold, dust mites, and pet dander. Since it can be challenging to figure out what you are allergic to without a doctor or even determine if you’re suffering from allergies or an illness, you’ll want to contact Dr. Tottori, an allergy specialist in Las Vegas, for assistance.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies develop as a result of an overactive immune system. If allergies are not treated right away, they can become more chronic problems such as asthma or recurring sinus infections.
What are Common Winter Allergies?
Winter allergies are caused by a number of factors, including:
- Mold and mildew
- Dust mites
Although people may be allergic to these substances year-round, they tend to be worse in the wintertime when they are used indoors without as much ventilation.
Although pet dander is a top source of allergies in general, pet dander becomes particularly problematic in winter due to the fact that like people, pets tend to spend more time inside when the weather is cold. That means they produce more dander, which is the cause behind pet-related allergy symptoms.
Mold and mildew are other common sources of winter allergies. Mold and mildew are actually fall allergens that can be brought into your home by shoes and clothing. The mold and mildew spores live in damp environments and can produce allergy symptoms in winter when conditions are ripe for their growth. Mold and mildew typically appear in yard waste and decaying leaves.
Damp wood often contains mold spores if you keep it outside the home and bring it in for a winter fire. Even if you store the wood inside briefly, you are likely bringing allergens into your home in the process.
Dust mites are also more likely to produce adverse symptoms in winter when you are spending more time indoors. Dust mites may cause several symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. The symptoms associated with dust mite allergies are similar to the symptoms you may experience with hay fever. Some people with dust mite allergies also have asthma symptoms such as wheezing and breathing problems. Although you cannot see dust mites without a microscope, you can guess that they might be triggering your allergies if your home has a warm and moist environment, which is prime habitat for dust mites.
While these items are not the only ones that cause winter allergies, they are some of the most common sources of allergies among those who suffer from seasonal allergies. In addition to simply suffering from allergy exposure, other lifestyle factors may contribute to your allergies, too. The longer that you spend time indoors during the winter, the more likely it is that you will prolong your allergy symptoms. Additionally, pollen season has been increasing in duration over the past few years, which means that people generally affected by fall allergies may find that their symptoms progress into the winter months. If you find that your allergy symptoms extend from one season to the next, it can be difficult to determine what you are allergic to. To figure out the true source of your allergies, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tottori to get allergy testing and, in turn, get answers.
Do You Have a Cold or Allergies?
Distinguishing between a common cold and allergies can be difficult if you are not a professional. After all, both allergies and the cold produce some similar and overlapping symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes. While you might not be able to distinguish between a cold and allergies based on these symptoms, you can look for other clues that you may be suffering from allergies instead of a cold. One way to tell if you have a cold or allergies is to see how long the symptoms last. A cold typically lasts for a week or less, while allergies can last for weeks or months at a time.
Furthermore, there are some slight variations in symptoms that will help you figure out if you have a cold or allergies. The following symptoms are common with allergies:
- Watery and clear nasal secretions
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy throat
- Long-lasting symptoms
On the other hand, you may get different symptoms if you have a cold, including:
- Nasal secretions that are not clear
- Body aches
- Short-live symptoms
While you may be able to get some sense of the underlying problem based on your symptoms and how long they last, you may want to visit an allergist for a final and official diagnosis. A doctor will be able to test for allergies using allergy testing to help determine if you are suffering from allergies or an illness.
Getting Tested for Allergies
If you suspect that you might have winter allergies, getting tested by an allergy specialist in Las Vegas is essential. An allergy specialist can perform several different kinds of allergy tests to figure out what exactly you are allergic to. One of the most frequently used, and most accurate, types of allergy testing is an allergy skin test, which involves the doctor placing a small amount of a potential allergen on your skin to see if you develop an adverse reaction. The doctor might also order a blood test to figure out the source of your allergies.
Treating Winter Allergies
Winter allergies may be treated in several different ways. Dr. Tottori will assess your allergies and symptoms and prescribe a treatment regimen accordingly. You may receive a prescription for allergy medications to manage your symptoms, and you may also get an inhaler if you have asthma symptoms. Allergy shots are another option for the long-term management of your allergy symptoms. If you’re wondering, “where can I get an allergy shot?” don’t hesitate to contact Tottori Allergy and Asthma to set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.
How to Reduce Allergy Symptoms
In addition to working with your doctor to manage allergy symptoms, you can also take some steps on your own to reduce the severity of your symptoms. Washing your hands frequently will help avoid exposure to allergens, and it can also reduce the chance of contracting an illness. Washing your clothing and bedding on a regular basis can also help kill off some environmental allergens. Cleaning the interior of your home regularly by vacuuming and washing the floors can also help get rid of some indoor allergies.
Contact Tottori Allergy and Asthma today to get relief from your allergy and asthma symptoms and determine the culprit behind your winter allergies. You can call or visit our website to learn more and set up an appointment.