While it’s easy to shrug it off, have you considered the possibility of winter allergies? You might be allergic to pollen, mites or molds which linger in dust during the winter months. The biggest difference between a cold and an allergy is the duration. A cold usually stays for 10 days, whereas an allergy can continue for weeks or months. Today, Dr Arpit Jain, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Artemis Health Institute, answers our top 6 questions about winter allergies and how to avoid them.
What allergies can one have in the cold winter months?
Some common allergens during the winter months are:
- Dust mites
- Pets (cats, dogs) dander
What are the symptoms for identifying winter allergies?
- Running nose
- Sneezes and sniffles
- Watery eyes, Itchy nose or throat
- Persistent cough
People with asthma can have wheezing, chest congestion and breathing difficulties.
What are the treatments available for winter allergies?
For common nasal allergies, antihistaminics drugs are used. For persistent or very recurrent nasal allergies, sometimes anti allergic or steroids-containing nasal sprays are used. Those with asthma should use their inhalers as per their doctors advice and seek medical advice at the earliest, in case of any trouble.
How can one prevent winter allergies?
Keep the house dust-free as much as possible. Vacuum any carpets once or twice a week. The curtains and shades must be free of dust. No feather pillows. Avoid excessive humidity and dampness in the house as it lead to the growth of moulds. Smoking should be avoided. Keep animals outdoors, if possible, and bathe them once a week.
How are winter allergies different from flu or cold?
In the flu or cold, other than symptoms mentioned above, one can also have fever, aches and pains. These are generally not seen in allergic rhinitis. Common flu or cold symptoms usually get cured within a week. Allergic symptoms can last for weeks and may be longer depending upon exposure to the allergens.