Many people suffer from seasonal allergies. But what could possibly trigger winter allergies?
Before we answer this question, let us understand what allergies are. When you are exposed to a certain allergen (pollen, animal, plant, etc.), your body signals a specific allergic response. This response is driven by the immune system which releases a chemical called histamine, triggering downstream symptoms ranging from a runny nose to watery eyes and more.
While it is true that some allergens such as pollen become dormant during the winter, spending more time indoors will eventually trigger allergic responses to indoor allergens, some of them include:
- House dust mites : these are found in mattresses and beddings.
- Mould : this fungus resides in damp and humid areas including basements, bathrooms and cellars.
- Animals : Your friend’s cat or even dog can elicit an allergic response. As a matter of fact, the allergy is not caused by the animal fur itself, instead it is triggered by a specific protein found in dead flakes of skin, urine and saliva.
Typical winter allergy symptoms include:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Runny nose
- Uninterrupted sneezing
- Watery eyes
Some people are not aware that they are allergic to a certain allergen, up until their body exhibits some of the symptoms mentioned above. So, if your symptoms last for more than a week, you should consult your doctor. The doctor might refer you to a specialist (allergist), who will undergo several tests to get a clear picture of the source of your allergy.
Following the diagnosis, a treatment plan is proposed and that includes the following:
- Antihistamines, reduces sneezing and itching symptoms
- Decongestants, relieves congestions and mucus build up
- Allergy shots, as an alternative, increasing doses of an allergen are given gradually which result in a reduction of the symptoms from reappearing for a longer period of time.