We’re smack-dab in the middle of winter and you know what that means: it’s time for winter allergies to take their toll.
Having allergies during the winter is miserable. You can’t avoid them by going inside like you can during the spring. What can you do when your allergies follow you into the store, on your daily walks, into your workplace, and even into your home?
We’re here to talk about a few ways that you can manage your allergies during the winter. Read on to learn more.
1. Visit Your Doctor
Before you start trying to conquer your allergies, it’s helpful to visit your doctor first to make sure that your winter allergy symptoms are actually allergy symptoms at all. During the winter (especially this winter) there are plenty of other potential causes for your illness.
Winter is prime cold and flu season. People are getting sick everywhere, and they’re spreading that sickness around when they go on errands, go out to eat, and even walk through the streets.
At the moment, the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong with the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is very contagious. For people who have already been vaccinated, symptoms of the Omicron variant resemble cold, flu, and allergy symptoms.
If you’re not 100% sure that your winter allergies are allergies, visit your doctor for a flu shot, a booster shot (if necessary), and a COVID-19 test. You can then proceed with other methods.
2. Wear a Mask
It’s a great thing that masks have become more commonplace since the pandemic started. In many Asian countries, masks were already commonplace when people fell ill. This is because masks can help reduce the spread of illness.
Even if you have allergies, your coughing and sneezing aren’t ideal for the people around you. Wearing a mask is polite.
Even aside from that, though, wearing a high-quality mask may block allergens when you’re out and about. While some are sure to get through, and you won’t have protection while you’re at home, a mask does add an extra layer of protection.
So protect yourself from allergens and protect others from your coughs and sneezes by wearing a mask!
3. Get HVAC Maintenance
Did you know that your HVAC system might be exacerbating your allergies during the winter? Believe it or not, it’s true.
First, and almost unavoidably, when it’s winter you likely have your heat turned up. Even if your HVAC system is working well and it’s clean, that heat is going to cause the air inside your home to be drier.
Dry air will dry out your skin, eyes, and sinuses. This can make your winter allergy symptoms worse.
But what if you haven’t cleaned or maintained your HVAC system lately? Then you can have an even bigger problem. There may be dust, mold, and other contaminants that are now circulating through your home.
To prevent this problem, we recommend hiring a professional, like the professionals at Thomas HVAC company, to check on your HVAC system when the seasons change. While this won’t heal your allergies, it may reduce your winter allergy systems, improve your indoor air quality, and reduce the allergens in the air.
4. Clean More Often (and More Effectively)
How often do you clean your home? If the answer is “not enough,” you’re not alone. Many people have busy schedules, and it’s hard to find time to do a full deep cleaning session when you’re already trying to balance work, school, family life, friends, and other responsibilities.
If you have winter allergy symptoms, though, it’s a good idea to clean more often and have at least one good deep cleaning session at the beginning of winter. As soon as the weather gets cold, bring out the vacuum and mop.
Make sure that you clean every surface. You don’t want other contaminants to make your symptoms worse. You don’t want to get a cold or the flu on top of your winter allergies.
Steam clean your carpet at least once during the winter. This will get deep into the fibers of your carpet to get rid of any mold and dust. It’s better than vacuuming.
When you aren’t deep cleaning, you should still clean more often. Some people find that they need to vacuum every day when they have serious winter allergy symptoms (though most can get away with vacuuming only once or twice per week).
Dust at least once per week and look for hidden and hard-to-reach areas.
If your allergy symptoms are still severe, wash your bedding more often. Dust can hide in your sheets and blankets.
5. Try Allergy Medications
Many people don’t like taking allergy medications because those medications can make you sleepy. This isn’t ideal when you have to work or go to school.
When it’s bedtime, use those allergy medications. You need to get more sleep anyway, so they shouldn’t do any harm.
During the day, look for medications that don’t have drowsiness as a potential side effect. You can also ask your doctor for an allergy shot that may reduce your symptoms.
if you must take sedating allergy medications during the day, take steps to stay more alert. Don’t skip your daily caffeine boost, try to keep moving, and drink plenty of water. Eat nutritious foods to keep your energy levels up.
6. Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers are great for winter allergies and illnesses of all kinds, especially during the winter. Both cool air and warm air humidifiers can be effective (though cool air humidifiers are often more affordable, so if you’re not sure if a humidifier will work for you, this is your best bet).
Humidifiers add more humidity to your dry indoor air. They can help you clear out your sinuses. Many people report feeling better after sleeping with a humidifier running.
Make sure that the water in your humidifier is clean. You should change it every day and never re-use leftover water from the day before. If you wake up with a sore throat after running your humidifier overnight, use it during the day instead.
Some humidifiers have a place to put essential oils or Vicks patches. These may also help, though it varies from person to person.
If your allergies are caused by mold spores, make sure that your humidifier isn’t leaving the surrounding area damp. You may instead want to use a dehumidifier (though if you suffer from dry eyes as a result of your allergies, this could make your symptoms worse).
7. Get Better Sleep
This won’t heal your allergies, but it is important that you combat allergy-related insomnia if you want to stay otherwise healthy. It’s hard to sleep with allergies when you’re feeling achy and congested, but that doesn’t mean that you can allow yourself to get sleep-deprived.
If you can, take allergy medication at night. It will help you sleep and you should wake up feeling groggy, but refreshed. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t go over a normal dose of this medication as long-term use can be harmful.
Drink water before bed (but not enough that you’ll have to get up to use the restroom often). This should combat the discomfort from a dry and scratchy throat and dry eyes.
Consider using white noise to sleep. White noise blocks out other noise and disrupts silence if silence makes it hard for you to sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll add even more problems to your allergy symptoms and your body won’t be as prepared to combat them.
8. Avoid Strong Scents and Smoke
Strong scents from incense and essential oils might make your allergy symptoms worse. That’s right: those people trying to sell you essential oils as allergy cures may not actually know what they’re talking about.
Strong scents may cause more inflammation in your nose and eyes. Essential oils show very little evidence of any health benefits. There are a few exceptions (peppermint and eucalyptus) that may help with certain symptoms when used in moderation, but don’t overdo it.
Incense, aside from having a strong scent, may also bother your dry and itchy eyes due to the smoke.
Extra tip: if you’re experiencing allergies, stop smoking and avoid bonfires.
Combat Your Winter Allergies This Season
Winter allergies aren’t fun, but if you take the right steps, you can reduce your symptoms. Whether you’re choosing medical treatments or “natural” methods, these winter allergy tips can help.
Stop struggling and start breathing easier despite your winter allergies.
For more helpful articles all about health and more, visit the rest of our site.