Winter Allergies: What Causes Them and How You Can Get Relief
If you thought that winter and sniffles go hand in hand; then you have every option of preventing such things. Many people confuse colds with allergies or allergic colds since quite often the symptoms are similar. How long the symptoms linger is a good indicator of whether you are suffering from a common cold, the flu, or a nasty allergy. Flu is more recognizable for the high fever and excruciating aches and pains that accompany it. However, sneezing and coughing are symptoms common to all of them. It is best to treat the cold or allergy symptomatically first; i.e. with hot soups and steaming broths, maybe steam inhalation, if the nose is terribly clogged making breathing difficult. A cold will typically go away in a week or ten days.
Watch Out for Dust Mites and Dust
Even those who know that they suffer from allergies often don’t realize that there are many dangerous allergens floating around inside your home, which you thought is your haven. Just because you are mostly indoors in winter, and there is no pollen flying around, still those nasty allergens might be on your own bed or sofa. Any place there is upholstery and your mattresses are susceptible to having dust mites lurking in them. While these are microscopic and are relatively harmless when they lie in the cushions, pillows, and bedding; they become dangerous when their remains and droppings become airborne. They get into your nostrils, especially when you turn on the room heater or light the fireplace. Not just the dust mites per se, but the air is dustier in winter as there is less moisture in the atmosphere to bind it to the soil.
Do this:Use a handkerchief or light, silk scarf to cover your nose and mouth while dusting the house — furniture, the windows, and doors — to prevent the dust or dust mites from entering your nose or mouth, and set you coughing and sneezing. Rigorously vacuum the books, mattresses, cushions, carpets, and curtains when you vacuum the floor. If the rooms’ floors are swept and swabbed clean, then you must vacuum the other things.
Spores and Molds Are Equally Dangerous
In many places, winter means a clammy cold which encourages moulds to flourish. It means you need to vigorously keep your kitchen, bathrooms, and basement squeaky clean, and free of various kinds of mould and fungi. Use any cleaner which has an adequate amount of bleaching powder with detergent to clean the kitchen sink and the shower in the bathroom. Spores of various kinds of animals, and even your own dead skin which might fall off into your clothes and bedclothes. These could also cause allergies. If you keep pets, then you might be picking up their dander (flaking dead skin) without realizing it — and cursing the weather for your runny eyes and nose. Apart from allergic rhinitis, dust mite allergy can also trigger asthma, and cause eczema to flare.
Do this: Remove wall to wall carpeting from the rooms, if you are not up to regular vacuuming it. Put all pillows, cushions, and mattresses in anti-spore or mite-proof covers after vacuuming them clean. Always wash pillow covers, cushion covers, curtains, and other linen in hot water. Keep household humidity minimal. Keep your pets out of the bedroom, and certainly off the beds, if it seems to be too cruel to keep them outside the home in their own kennels.
Did You Suddenly Get Itchy?
One of the major symptoms of winter allergies is itchiness. When your skin feels as though it needs a prickly brush to keep down the itches, then it is probably something more than plain dry skin. You might require something more than a moisturizing cream or lotion; though that is the logical point to begin. If there are eruptions, it would be advisable to see a dermatologist to rule out anything serious. Also, your doctor will probably prescribe some ointment to soothe your skin, and some mild medication like over the counter antihistamines to ensure that the allergy doesn’t worsen. These would include fexofenadine, loratadine, and cetirizine for adults, and Phenergan syrup for children.
Help Your Body Fight Allergies Naturally
Since we can’t hope to improve on nature, it is best to use her offerings to help our bodies fight allergies. Onions, peppers, berries, and parsley all have quercetin which has a natural antihistamine quality. Spinach, berries, pineapples, cucumbers, broccoli, brinjals, green beans, zucchini, kiwi, and tomatoes have plenty of vitamins C and E which help you fight allergies. The Omega-3 found in certain fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon go a long way to help you fight allergies. Try natural honey and yogurt too. Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and act accordingly.