in Internal Medicine

Most often we associate seasonal allergies with the spring and summertime, when pollen levels are at their highest. Cold weather, however, can expose you to a different set of irritants. These cold weather irritant can result in allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

 

Allergic rhinitis occurs whenever your body’s immune system overreacts to a certain material, causing nasal inflammation and resulting in excessive mucus production and nasal congestion.

Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
– Coughing
– Headaches
– Itchy or sore throat
– Watery, red eyes
– Running or blocked nose
– Skin rash

These are three common causes of cold weather allergies:

 

Smoke: Whether it is coming from an outdoor bonfire, or an indoor fireplace, smoke is one of the most common irritants for those suffering from cold weather allergies. We all know how comforting a fire can be in the cold weather, but for those who struggle to control their allergies, it may be best to avoid being close to a fire this cold weather season. If you do find yourself around a fire this year, try to stay back from the smoke and wrap your face with a scarf to limit your exposure.

 

Pet Dander: Somewhere around 15-30% of people who suffer from allergies are allergic to pet dander. If you are one of those people who have an allergy to pet hair, it probably affects you year round, but winter can cause more flare ups than other times of the year. This is because your pets are likely to spend more of their time inside your home when the weather is cold than they do in warmer months. During cold weather you are also less likely to leave your windows and doors open, which means your house isn’t well-ventilated.

 

Wool: When the weather turns cold the first thing you will want to do is reach for your knitted sweaters, scarves and beanies. While these warm articles of clothing can help to fight off the cold, they can also irritate your skin. While many people break out in red itchy bumps when wearing woollen clothing, the majority are just sensitive to the coarse texture of the wool. Others can develop allergic contact dermatitis as a result of wearing wool.

 

 

Wellspire Medical Group 

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