What kind of allergies can you get in the winter
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing. But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.
Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said.
[Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]
Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.
People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.
Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said.
«This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»
Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said.
But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.
What causes hay fever
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants.
Check the pollen forecast
Media final reviewed: 21 April 2017
Media review due: 21 April 2020
Sheet final reviewed: 21 December 2017
Next review due: 21 December 2020
Treatment Options for Winter Allergy Symptoms
To treat allergy symptoms, Jones cautions against older over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, which, he says, can do more harm than good.
«Some of these drugs own too numerous side effects,» he notes, «and people don’t really understand how to match their symptoms to the product.
They just know they feel bad and desire to feel better.»
For example, some OTC allergy drugs contain decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, which can lift a user’s heart rate. The athletic ingredient in the antihistamine Benadryl — diphenhydramine — causes some tissues to dry out and promotes urinary retention, Jones says. «So people with prostate problems, who may own trouble urinating, discover that that condition worsens when they take diphenhydramine.»
Jones says that better options are decongestants that contain loratadine (such as Claritin) and cetirizine (like Zyrtec), two drugs that moved from prescription to OTC status in recent years.
Prescription steroid nasal sprays (some of which are also now available over-the-counter) tend to be more effective than antihistamine tablets, adds Rank, though individual responses vary and the two types of drugs are often used in combination.
Talk to your doctor and your pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medication, to discuss whether it’s appropriate for your symptoms and potential side effects.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology notes that if you own a pet allergy, you might consider immunotherapy — allergy shots or tablets — that can potentially desensitize you to the allergen and provide lasting relief.
Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop. Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.
But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr.
Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, 2006), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»
Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition. More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In 2017, 8.1% of adults and 7.7% of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.
In 2019, spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN). Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses.
According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states. Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]
A pharmacist can assist with hay fever
Speak to your pharmacist if you own hay fever.
They can give advice and propose the best treatments, love antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to assist with:
- itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
- a blocked nose
Find a pharmacy
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- your symptoms are getting worse
- your symptoms do not improve after taking medicines from the pharmacy
Check if you own hay fever
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- a runny or blocked nose
- loss of smell
- sneezing and coughing
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
If you own asthma, you might also:
- have a tight feeling in your chest
- be short of breath
- wheeze and cough
Hay fever will final for weeks or months, unlike a freezing, which generally goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.
Treatments for hay fever from a GP
Your GP might prescribe steroids.
If steroids and other hay fever treatments do not work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.
This means you’ll be given little amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.
This helpful of treatment generally starts in the winter about 3 months before the hay fever season begins.
How to treat hay fever yourself
There’s currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.
But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.
- shower and change your clothes after you own been exterior to wash pollen off
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- stay indoors whenever possible
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- hold windows and doors shut as much as possible
- purchase a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
- do not spend too much time exterior
- do not dry clothes exterior – they can catch pollen
- do not cut grass or stroll on grass
- do not hold unused flowers in the home
- do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- do not let pets into the home if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
Allergy UK has more tips on managing hay fever.