Should you go off of your daily allergy medicine during the winter months? Once the frost hits, many outdoor allergens are no longer a problem. Before you put that antihistamine back on the shelf though, make sure you are aware of all the allergens winter brings.
Dr. Frank A. Munden, Jr. M.D. is very familiar with winter allergies. He treats allergy patients at the Holland Allergy Clinic in West Michigan. He states that winter does improve allergies to pollen and molds. However, mold can become a problem in the winter when the temperature rises to about 40 degrees. Dr. Munden sees many patients that report problems during their outdoor jogs due to higher temperatures and increased mold. This weekend will be a warm one here in Grand Rapids. With highs in the upper 30’s and low 40’s, make sure to take allergy precautions during your outdoor activities.
Even with highs in the 40’s, many of us will spend most of our time indoors. While inside, we must deal with the affects of our furnace. When the furnace kicks on, it stirs up the dust that has been sitting in the pipes. Dr. Munden states that a furnace can increase the dust inside your home and dry out the air. Dust is a common trigger for allergies and dry air can lead to a sore throat and sinus problems. Another common, indoor allergy trigger is pet dander. You may notice more trouble with allergies from your pet in the winter when windows are closed and fresh air is not circulating.
What can you do?
There are ways to calm, mild winter allergies with or without the aid of daily antihistamines.
According to WebMD:
- Take a shower – it removes allergens from your hair and forces you to change your clothes that may carry allergens
- Wash bedding once a week
- Saline solution – irrigate your sinuses with a mixture of 1 tsp. non-iodized salt and 8oz. of water
- Drink water – it’s easy to dehydrate when your blowing your nose and the air is dry
You may also consider talking to your doctor about starting allergy shots. Although getting the shots is no fun, it may be a small price to pay when you have built up your tolerance to your allergy triggers. If you are considering this option, check out my articles on Nicole’s story. These articles follow the progress of a girl trying allergy shots as a means of controlling her winter allergies and asthma.
Before getting rid of your daily allergy medication, talk to your doctor. Allergies are still prevalent in the winter months. Unfortunately, frost alone is not the cure.