When we think of seasonal allergies, we typically imagine the itchy eyes and runny nose that come with the springtime, often caused by western ragweed pollen. (Learn more about western ragweed in our blog post.) However, winter allergies are real!
If the cold weather always brings some sort of allergic reaction for you, let's talk about what might be causing your winter allergy symptoms and what you can do to get your allergies under control.
During other times of the year, seasonal pollen allergies are commonplace. It's especially problematic in windy weather, which can carry allergens far and wide.
But during the chilly seasons, there are different culprits causing your winter allergy symptoms.
Specifically, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, and mildew are common indoor allergens and some of the biggest offenders. Let's talk about some of these individually.
Are you dealing with a dust mite allergy? Dust mites are tiny pests that eat our dead skin cells! They prefer warm, humid environments.
You can't see these microscopic bugs, but they can very well trigger symptoms during the winter. Don't worry — they're not going to bite or sting you. And they're not going to bury themselves in your body.
Rather, you might be inhaling the protein in the dust that comes from their feces, urine, or decaying bodies. That's what could cause your allergy symptoms. (Similarly, there's a protein in cockroach droppings that causes allergies. Yuck!)
Mold spores float through the air and land on the surfaces of your home, and this is what reproduces it and causes indoor mold growth.
Note that mold cannot grow without moisture. This is why you'll commonly find it in bathrooms.
Pet dander might very well be causing your winter allergy symptoms. If your pet has fur or feathers, then they're shedding dead skin cells.
Animals without fur or feathers are less likely to cause these chronic allergy symptoms.
You might be wondering, "What on earth do dust mites and pet dander have to do with the winter?" It's a fair question! It's not so much that they're related to winter.
Rather, in the winter, you spend much more time cooped up indoors, which means you're more likely to be exposed to indoor allergens like animal dander and dust mites.
Plus, remember that once the temperature drops, you likely turn on the heat. This sends even more dust mites, mold spores, household dust, skin cells, and other allergens floating through the air.
Outdoor winter allergies aren't so much the issue. Instead, it's indoor allergies.
There's a simple way to get to the bottom of your symptoms during winter allergy season and all year round. eNational Testing offers the Environmental Allergen Profile, a blood test that checks for your reaction to some of the most common allergens. Results are available in two to four business days.
Find a testing center near you and order your test today. We have more than 2,000 locations across the nation, and you don't have to see your doctor first!
Winter allergies can trigger the same kinds of common symptoms you'd experience throughout the rest of the year, including:
Now that you know what might be causing your winter allergies, let's talk about what you can do to get those allergic reactions under control during the cold weather.
Below are tips to both reduce exposure to winter allergens and improve your winter allergies if you've already been exposed.
Pet allergies and dust mites floating through the indoor air might have you feeling less than stellar during the winter months. But your time indoors can be much more enjoyable.
If you experience allergies and need help, order your blood test with eNational to determine which allergens are triggering the response.
Find a testing center near you and purchase your test today. We have more than 2,000 locations across the nation, and you don't have to see your doctor first!