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Winter Allergies? Really?

I'm finding my allergies are really bad this winter! I'm pretty sure it's – winter here in CA is the "rainy season" and it's just been damp and rainy lately. For me, that means outdoor mold growth. It just always seems odd to me because I'm used to thinking of allergies as a thing KWIM?

Anyone else dealing with worse allergies now that it's winter?

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  • JoeAllergy

    Kathy.. I think I may have posted on this topic awhile back.  Basically, my WORST season for allergies (by far) is the WINTER. I consider myself a "winter allergy" person.  I live in PA.  I am mostly OK during the summer and fall months..  but when things start  to get colder out.. and I am forced to close those windows, and kick on that forced-air furnace — that is when my troubles begin.  And they don't end until spring. (and i pull open those windows and breathe again!)  For me, "pollen" is a walk in the park compared to whatever is coming out of those furnace ducts, combined with the dry air issues. 

    Being in CA, your situation is different than mine. "Damp and rainy" is definitely not ideal for most people with allergies. I think everybody has their own unique "season".

  • Megan Roberts

    I hear you @JoeAllergy and @Kathy P! I have the same problem the last few years. Not so much due to rain but due to trapped air full of triggers that hate me!

    Fall/spring used to be much worse but now the winter /indoor allergies get me. The indoor allergies combined with the cold (my biggest asthma trigger) also make it the most difficult breathing season. I've started really changing things within my home — I keep my bedroom door shut pretty much all the time (I have animals, keeps out the dander) and run an air purifier whenever I'm in there. That helps immensely– without it I wake up congested with headache and sore throat. 

    The vacuum cleaner, the dust in the basement, and any sources of mold are guaranteed sneeze marathons. @JoeAllergy what are your winter allergens, and how have you taken steps to reduce your exposure so far? @Kathy P it sounds like you have a strong mold allergy– what have you found helpful?

    Here's an article that was posted in the fall about that I found very helpful. And here are some more tips from an by AAFA last winter — I know Kathy has seen these already but, @JoeAllergy, I hope maybe you can find something helpful in it too. 

  • K8sMom2002

    @JoeAllergy, that's tough that you're allergic to whatever is coming out of your forced air furnace! I know you've mentioned trying several different things to help that — were you ever able to find any kind of vent filters that might work?

  • Marie E Natzke

    I have seasonal allergies and indoor ones too. My worst time is the fall when it gets to be October i can't wait till we have a hard freeze to kill off all the pollen. I used to be able to stop taking my allergy meds during the winter months. But since our weather is not stable like when I was a kid I need to continue taking my meds. During the warmer months I put a furnace filter in my bedroom window so I can get fresh air in but to block some of the pollen from coming into the room. Can't always run the air conditioning.

  • MMKB

    I'm also have a terrible time with my allergies this winter. I live in Michigan and I'm having trouble in my house, at work and outside. I have year round allergies, but winter is usually my best season. 

  • Kathy P

    JoeAllergy – interesting that your allergies are worse when the house is closed up. The info that Megan linked to about indoor air quality might help you find ways you can help improve things.

    Megan – the only thing I've really found to help is elimination of the sources of mold! I was towels frequently and keep the shower cleaned. The outside stuff is what is my biggest problem. We've addressed that by getting a lawn service to come clean up the leaves monthly. That has definitely helped. 

    Marie – putting a filter in the window is a brilliant idea! We don't have A/C so always have the windows and multiple sliding doors open.

    MMKB – do you know what you winter triggers are this year? Odd that something is different. 

  • Marie E Natzke

    Kathy P , thanks!!! . If you decide to try it get the plastic one it holds up better than the cardboard/paper frame. The plastic one can be washed.

  • K8sMom2002

    Terrific idea, Marie! 

    @MMKB, do you keep a — a brief journal or log of each day you have symptoms? The suggestions I linked to were targeted at asthma triggers, but the idea is the same. 

    It really solved a lot of mysteries for us when we started jotting down brief notes in a small notepad I kept. Eventually we could look back over our notes and realize, "Whoa, all of these were high pollen days," or "wow, my asthma got worse right before the weather changed," or "DD has worse issues on days when birch is blooming out." 

  • MMKB

    Kathy P  and K8SMOM2002 – I'm not sure why my allergies and asthma are continuing to be out of control this winter. I have had increased problems since last spring and have been hyper-sensitive to exposures in a variety of environments. I had really hoped once winter started my problems would decrease. Some of my known allergies are dust, mold, grass, tree pollen, cats, dogs and feathers. I do keep a daily allergy/asthma/medicine log.

  • Milena
    Kathy P posted:

    I'm finding my allergies are really bad this winter! I'm pretty sure it's – winter here in CA is the "rainy season" and it's just been damp and rainy lately. For me, that means outdoor mold growth. It just always seems odd to me because I'm used to thinking of allergies as a thing KWIM?

    Anyone else dealing with worse allergies now that it's winter?

    Hi. This is the first time dealing with winter allergies and NOCtrunaL asthma. Had an attack yesterday and landed in the the E.R first time in my life. I hope I can get this under control, I would like to get back to my regular life! Cali weather is really BI-POLAR!  It doesn't help.

  • Pljohns

    Milena-so sorry you landed in the ER!  Cali weather isn't the only weather-here in the good ol'South, we call it yo-yo weather-if you don't like what you have, wait 5 min and it will be something totally different!  Sure do hope you are better soon and can get back to your regular life

  • K8sMom2002

    Wow, Milena, hugs on the ER trip. What advice did your ER doc give you? Will you be able to follow up with your allergist or pulmonologist this week?

    AAFA has a great video series about asthma — 11 short (like five minutes short) videos on understanding asthma and asthma research. Then you can take short surveys after each one to give AAFA your feedback. 

    Short topics include: 

      For me, they were GREAT — helped me understand things better so that I could talk with my doctor and get a good action plan together.