Most people think of allergies as occurring mainly during the spring, when the landscape comes into bloom, scattering pollen through the air to cause symptoms like a stuffy nose and watery eyes. Some believe firmly that autumn is a harbinger of allergic reactions due to a number of people who suffer from hay fever and related symptoms. However, allergy symptoms can be just as bad, or worse, during the winter months for reasons like the following.
To minimize heating bills during the winter, many people seal their homes and offices as tightly as possible to keep cold air outside. Weather stripping is placed around windows and doors, and windows are kept closed during this time of year. As a result, indoor air quality suffers due to continuous recirculation of dust, pet dander, and allergens. Without fans or fresh breezes to clean the inside airflow, people will continue to be affected by the allergens that normally can be weakened or removed during warmer months. Take advantage of any warmer winter days to open a couple of windows for just an hour or two. This will help to circulate fresh air in your home.
During colder months, family members and coworkers tend to stay indoors more often. This exposes everyone to more allergens from sharing living space or workspace. Being in close proximity with people who have pets or tend plants as well as other types of allergens can often cause symptoms in those who are allergic to them, especially with limited indoor airflow. Crowded elevators, doctor’s offices, and shopping areas in public contribute to the spread of allergens when we least expect to encounter them.
As we hunker down for the winter, we bring in outdoor summer toys, pet supplies, and plants that we want to protect during the winter. These and other items that spent the summer outside may still be carrying allergens like pollen or pet dander that cause sensitive individuals to start coughing, sneezing, or even breaking out in hives. When transferring outdoor toys, equipment, and flowers inside, it is a good idea to wipe them clean of any residual allergens that may cause problems. You may also want to consider storing them in a garage or shed for the season.
During the cold months, people with seasonal summer or fall allergies may assume they are past the point of sensitivity. They might relax their guard and risk exposure to things that cause allergic reactions at other times of the year. Or they may stop taking precautions like a daily shower to remove allergens or keeping a symptom suppressant from the drugstore on hand. Symptoms that start up again are a reminder to remain cautious about possible exposure to allergenic substances even during the winter.
Some complain their symptoms are worse in winter when the furnace kicks on and the air conditioner is turned off. If you notice allergic symptoms popping up, take prompt steps to bring them under control. You may also want to speak with a doctor about what you can do to treat your allergy symptoms and to get tested for various allergens.