Allergies in the wintertime?

January 5, 2010 by  
Filed under ALLERGIES

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You’d never associate winter with hay fever and pollen allergies, right? Well, actually allergies also spike up during the winter time, but for different reasons that we encounter in spring and summer. Here are some sources of allergens in the winter time (source WebMD):

Minimum outdoor experience. We tend to shy away from the great outdoors once the temperatures start dropping. Rain, snow, sleet – these all tend to keep us indoors and force us to pursue indoor activities. Even physical exercise and sports are mostly done indoors.

Fires. Yes, it’s cozy to sit in front of an open fire. But smoke and fumes generated by the wood-burning fires can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. And what about those lovely candles? Do they produce scents and fumes you are allergic to?

Holiday greenery. The holly, the mistletoe, the Christmas tree. These all make our home festive during the holiday season. But by taking these greeneries indoors, we may be introducing allergens from the outside into our home.

Bad air. How often do you air your house in the winter? According to Dr.  Asriani Chiu, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine (allergy/immunology), at the College of Wisconsin:

“You’re in a closed-up house, the heater is on, the windows shut — that’s why indoor allergies get worse in the winter.”

Food. Lots of festivities happen in late autumn and winter time. Thanksgiving in the US, Christmas and New Year all over, then starts the carnival season in Europe, and then comes Valentine’s day. True, these festivities are welcome breaks in dark, dreary months. But in the process, with each celebration we are exposed to lots of food allergens. We also tend to eat less fresh produce and consume more processed food with lots of preservatives and additives that can trigger allergies.

Molds and mildew. Molds are everywhere and they like dampness. They produce spores that can trigger severe allergies. It may be on your Christmas tree, in your shoes, on your jacket. It may be in the balcony plant you took inside for the winter. It may be in your basement and in your bathroom that doesn’t get regular airing during the cold season.

Mites. Mites, on the other hand, love to reside things that help you keep warm. They can be in your feather beds, down comforters, and throw rugs.

Pets. Our pets also tend to stay indoors more than usual during the winter time. It is no wonder that pet allergies peak during the winter months.

Stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can build during the holiday season. Stress can also trigger allergy and asthma attacks.

So how do we reduce allergy attacks in the winter time? I’ll tell you more in the coming posts…

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