How Indoor Winter Allergies Can Have Similar Symptoms to a Cold

Throughout the winter months every year, people tend to develop several colds. If, however, you notice that your symptoms recur in a predictable pattern year in and year out, you could be suffering from winter allergies, and in this case flu and cold remedies won’t do the trick.

At Boat Club Medical in Fort Worth, our expert team helps allergy sufferers every day. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to winter allergies and colds:

What are the symptoms of indoor winter allergies?

It’s easy to mistake winter allergies for a cold -- both problems exhibit many of the same symptoms. For example, both winter allergies and colds produce sneezing, nasal congestion, and a runny nose. Both can cause a sore throat as well. In the case of allergies, the sore throat usually results from a postnasal drip, which occurs when secretions from your nasal passages drip down the back of your throat.

Another common symptom of allergies and colds is the coughing that takes place. Coughing is present with just about every cold, while allergy sufferers, especially those who have allergy-induced asthma, can also suffer from coughing spells.

Fatigue is another symptom that makes it difficult to tell winter colds apart from indoor winter allergies. The tiredness that strikes your body with a cold usually comes at the beginning of the cold, however, while allergy-related fatigue comes after you’ve been worn down after fighting for so long against persistent allergies.

What causes indoor winter allergies?

Indoor winter allergies are not a result of pollen. Instead, winter allergies can flare up when you face common triggers such as dust and mold spores. You are inside for much longer periods of time than in the summer, so these triggers have more opportunities to act on you. 

Mold, for instance, does well in damp, humid areas such as a basement. When mold spores get into the air and run throughout the house through the furnace system, they can cause real problems for allergy sufferers.

Dust mites, or microscopic bugs, are another trigger for winter allergies, along with animals. Many people think they’re allergic to animal fur, but they’re actually having a reaction to a common protein found in pet dander, saliva, and urine. When winter hits, you’re in a confined area with these agents, so you have a greater chance of reacting to them.

How to treat indoor winter allergies

Colds and allergies differ in a couple of key ways, though: Many people who have a cold also run a fever, which doesn’t typically happen with allergies. Colds also usually run their course after about 10 days, while allergies can linger on and on, especially if you are cooped up in the house for days on end during the cold winter months.

Treatment for winter allergies can include antihistamines to relieve the itching, decongestants to relieve the congestion in your nose, and immunotherapies (allergy shots) which gradually expose you to a low dose of the allergen over time.

If you find yourself suffering from indoor winter allergies this year, Dr. Jerry Davis and our team at the Boat Club Medical in Fort Worth are ready to help. Just contact our team through our website -- we’ll alleviate your symptoms so you can enjoy the winter and be ready to head back outside in the spring!

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