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Winter Allergies

Winter is almost upon us. The temperatures have begun to drop and perhaps your allergies have started to act up again. Some call them seasonal allergies and they’re right. Symptoms vary from person to person as does what causes allergy flare ups during a given time of year and the weather.

An allergy can best be explained as your body reacting to contact with a certain foreign substance also called an allergen.  Once triggered by an allergen the body produces a chemical known as a histamine that in turn prompts symptoms. These can vary from nasal congestion, watery eyes, and coughing, to itching in the nose, throat or eyes, runny or stuffy nose, sinus pressure, popping ears, and even hives. The most common allergens are pollens, mold, dust, and animal dander. Most people are allergic to pollen, whether it’s from trees, grass or weeds. And different grass and trees release their pollen at different times of the year, not just in the spring. Even mold can collect on stored Christmas trees. Allergens can afflict people throughout the year, anywhere from the spring time to the first frost.

If pollen is your trigger, you may find some relief during the winter months. However, other allergy sufferers may experience a flare up during the cold months if mold, pet dander or dust bothers them.  Some people spend more time indoors when it’s cold out. Ever notice the first time your furnace turns on that your allergies tend to return? Mold spores, pet dander and dust can collect and settle in your central air system. Once disturbed they can circulate through your vents. It’s a good idea to change your air filters on a monthly basis.

Many of us turn to an antihistamine although they can have side effects for relief but there are also natural alternatives that include natural antihistamines and decongestants that can help. Here are some things you can do to help lessen the effects of the allergens in your home during the winter:

  • Pet Dander- Try bathing your pet more frequently. Invest in allergen resistant bedding. Clean anywhere your pet lies regularly as well.
  • Perfumes-Some people have fragrance allergies so, less is more and none may be better.
  • Mold- Replace the shower curtain or clean it regularly along with the shower walls and bathroom windows to keep mold spores at bay.
  • Dust- Keep curtains, upholstered furniture and rugs cleaned. Vacuums with a HEPA filter may help to keep dust and dust mites from causing an allergy flare up.

Other things that can irritate allergies include smoke, humidity, cold temperatures, wind, and aerosol sprays.

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