Most people associate allergies with spring pollen – but did you know some people experience worse allergy symptoms during the winter months? In the frigid Northwest Indiana climate, people spend much more time inside with windows closed, which often leads to poor air circulation. This can allow indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander and mold to thrive.
Below, this family healthcare specialist in Cedar Lake, Indiana is going to review some of the most common indoor allergens and their symptoms, and we’ll also offer some tips on how to minimize indoor allergens throughout winter.
Common indoor allergens
Dust is a mix of skin flakes, pet hair, dirt, fibers, crumbs and insect debris. It typically accumulates in carpets, furniture, window treatments and bedding. Dirty HVAC filters, poorly sealed windows and vacuuming can stir up dust particles in the air, leading to allergy symptoms.
Dust mites feast on dust components, especially skin cells and animal dander. They live in bedding, furniture and carpets. Their feces contain digestive enzymes, which are potent allergens for us.
Mold loves dark, moist places like bathrooms and basements. Its spores are always in the air, ready to grow on various surfaces under the right conditions. As any family healthcare specialist will tell you, the presence of mold can lead to serious health consequences.
Pet allergies can worsen in winter, too. It’s not the fur, but the dander – proteins in their skin, saliva and urine. Pets spread dander through grooming, scratching and moving, which then embeds in furniture, bedding and carpets. Cats usually trigger more sensitivity, but dog allergies can spike in winter as they grow thicker coats.
Symptoms of winter allergies
People can easily mistake winter allergy symptoms for a common cold. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes (known as allergic shiners) caused by nasal congestion
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Rashes or dry, itchy skin
- Morning headaches
- Postnasal drip
- Sore or itchy throat
- Wheezing and shortness of breath for those who have allergic asthma
While cold and allergy symptoms are similar, the key difference between the two is how long these symptoms last. A typical cold might recede in a week or two, but allergy symptoms remain as long as exposure to the allergen continues. This prolonged suffering can impact your daily life, making it hard to determine whether you are dealing with a cold or ongoing allergies. Paying attention to the duration of symptoms is key to identifying winter allergies.
How can you minimize indoor allergens?
To minimize indoor allergens, it’s important that you clean your home regularly to reduce dust mites and pet dander. It’s wise to focus on areas where these allergens are likely to accumulate, such as bedding, carpets and furniture.
You should also keep indoor humidity under 50% to deter dust mites and mold. Also, a HEPA filter in your heating system can trap allergens, purifying your home’s air.
If you find yourself constantly battling allergy symptoms, you can always reach out to your local family healthcare specialist in Northwest Indiana. They can perform tests to pinpoint specific allergens causing your discomfort and create a tailored treatment plan. This personalized approach can help manage your symptoms more effectively, allowing you to enjoy winter with minimal allergic reactions.
Looking for an Affordable Family Healthcare Specialist in Northwest Indiana?
While managing winter allergies can be challenging, it’s not impossible. With the right strategies and treatments, you can enjoy the winter months with fewer allergy symptoms.
Are you ready to visit an affordable family healthcare specialist in Northwest Indiana who can help you manage your winter allergies? If so, 219 Health Network is here to welcome you. Contact us today at 833-219-0001 to get started.