Allergies are often associated with the spring and fall months. However, Las Vegas allergies can occur any time of the year. Determining whether or not you have allergies can be trickier in the winter due to other illnesses circulating at that time. If you have allergies, visit an allergy specialist in Las Vegas for a diagnosis and treatment.
What are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies appear at certain times of the year. Pollen, ragweed, dust, and grass are some allergies that affect people in the spring, summer, and fall. Unlike other seasonal allergies, winter allergies are associated more with lifestyle than substances. During the winter, most people tend to spend more time indoors with closed windows, which can exacerbate triggers such as fur and dust. Using a heater can also cause the growth of mold, which is another common item that can cause allergies.
How Common are Winter Allergies?
There are many variables to winter allergies, and factors such as lifestyle, geographic location, and predisposition to developing allergies can affect the likelihood of seasonal allergies. Based on estimates, about 5% – 20% of the US suffers from winter allergies.
What Causes Winter Allergies?
Winter allergies can be caused by several sources, including:
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
Mold tends to develop in warm environments with little or no airflow. Mold spores can appear on damp surfaces throughout the home, especially in the bedroom and bathroom. To prevent problems from mold, clean your house thoroughly on a regular basis. Mold and mildew can also grow in basements. People who are allergic to mold can experience various symptoms, including sneezing, itchiness, and congestion.
Dust particles can get into the air and work their way into your respiratory system, nose, and eyes, where they cause irritation and allergy symptoms. As with mold, cleaning your house when it gets dusty can mitigate allergy symptoms. Dust mites are known for causing allergies in the winter months, but they can also cause allergies during other times of the year. Dust mites gravitate towards sheets and linens, along with rugs and carpets. Vacuuming your rugs and washing linens regularly can help keep dust mites at bay and keep allergies attributed to dust mites away.
Pet dander is another source of winter allergies. Pet dander is flakes of dead skin, not fur. Pet dander comes from common household pets such as cats and dogs. Pet dander, as with other winter allergens, can collect on surfaces throughout your home. Therefore, keeping the house clean is essential to mitigate pet dander allergies.
Cockroaches can cause winter allergies and can live in many places in your home. However, they have an affinity for human food, so if you have a problem with cockroaches in the house, you should make sure all food is sealed or put away in the fridge or freezer and keep the floor clean to get rid of crumbs. Cockroaches can also enter the home through pipes, cracks, and crevices, so keeping those areas sealed can help deter cockroaches from getting into your house.
Winter Allergy Symptoms
Winter allergies produce symptoms similar to other seasonal allergies, which tend to affect the respiratory system rather than the gastrointestinal tract. Itchy, watery eyes are common with winter allergies. Additionally, you may have a scratchy throat, sneezing, and coughing. The symptoms associated with winter allergies may be annoying, but they are not typically life-threatening. Even if your symptoms don’t leave you in a life-or-death situation, you may still want to visit an allergy specialist in Las Vegas to get relief.
Is it a Cold or Allergies?
The symptoms of some Las Vegas allergies can be very similar to the symptoms of the common cold. However, some differences between the two can help you figure out if you’re dealing with a seasonal illness or allergies.
To determine if you’re suffering from a cold or allergies, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a fever?
- Do you have aches and pains?
- Are you coughing?
- Do you have chest pressure or pain?
- Is your throat sore?
- When did symptoms start?
A fever usually exists with an illness such as a cold or the flu, but allergies do not cause a fever. Therefore, if you have a fever, you will know that you are dealing with an illness rather than allergies.
Aches and pains are also generally linked to colds and other viruses, but not winter allergies.
Coughing can be a symptom of both colds and allergies. Coughs are more common with a cold or respiratory infection but can also happen with allergies. Since coughing is an overlapping symptom of both conditions, you may want to visit an allergist for allergy testing if you have a cough to determine if you have allergies or you are sick.
Symptom onset and duration can also help you distinguish between a cold and allergies. If symptoms suddenly start even though you’ve been in the house for the winter season already without any problems, you most likely have a viral infection. Also, colds will go away on their own without you changing anything about your living environment. On the other hand, allergies tend to disappear only when you make changes to your lifestyle, such as spending more time outside or when the weather changes.
Chest pressure and chest pain can also indicate the presence of allergies or a cold. People with a cold or respiratory illness tend to experience chest discomfort but don’t usually have chest pain. On the other hand, allergy sufferers can have chest pain as a symptom if they also have asthma. If your symptoms also include chest pain, schedule an appointment with an allergist to determine if you have seasonal allergies.
A sore throat is another symptom that can cause confusion. People often complain of sore throats when they have a cold. However, sore throats are not as common with seasonal allergies. If your throat is scratchy, you may have allergies instead of a cold.
If you are not sure whether your symptoms are related to allergies or a cold, contact an allergy specialist in Las Vegas for allergy testing and treatment.
How are Allergies Treated?
Treatment for winter allergies varies by person and allergen. After making a diagnosis with allergy testing, a doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms and provide relief. That medication may include nasal steroids, antihistamines, and other prescription medication. Immunotherapy is another option. For this treatment, an allergist will expose you to small amounts of the allergen over time. This helps build up immunity without the risk of a more serious reaction. Allergy shots are frequently used for immunotherapy. A nasal rinse may also be recommended to mitigate allergy symptoms. If you also have asthma during the winter, an allergist may suggest additional medication or an inhaler. Your allergist may also suggest keeping your home clean and having proper ventilation.
If you’re wondering “Where are the best allergists near me?”, look no further. You can make an appointment at Tottori Allergy and Asthma by calling (702) 240 4233 or by scheduling an appointment online.