Can you get allergies in the winter?

People who suffer from allergies, such as hay fever, wait for the cooler months to arrive to finally feel some reprieve from their nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing, and other uncomfortable symptoms that accompany spring and summer allergies. And, while it is true that seasonal allergies improve for many people during winter, for others winter may bring a drop in the mercury but it is also causes a rise in allergies.

As temperatures cool, people begin spending more time indoors, increasing their exposure to the allergens that are found inside the house, such as mold, dust mites, indoor pets, and even those found in substances like perfumes.


For this reason, the incidences of runny noses and coughing may increase during the winter months; often, these symptoms are blamed on a cold or the flu. Flu symptoms mirror winter allergy symptoms, which are caused by the inflammatory effects of histamine that is produced by the body following exposure to allergens. However, when flu symptoms fail to resolve, winter allergies should be considered.

The winter months also include events like Christmas; for many, this involves putting up a live Christmas tree in the house. This is harmless for most people; however, for the unfortunate and sensitive few, the tree can spark allergies or can carry other allergens, such as mold, triggering the production of histamine. Furthermore, all the additional winter blankets, carpeting and clothes that have been stored since the previous winter have collected dust and mold during storage. The dust, dust mites, and mold spores are released into the air and around the house when these winter accessories are removed from storage. This too can ignite allergic reactions in those with allergies.

The only way to control allergies in the winter is by limiting your exposure to allergens. Do this by keeping pets outside as much as possible, or limiting their access around the house, washing all linens, blankets and clothes that have been stored before using them again, and if necessary buying a synthetic Christmas tree.