If you often have nasal congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes, then there’s a good chance you have hay fever. These symptoms usually are at their prime during the summer but can happen at any time of the year. During winter the symptoms are often mistaken for a virus or common cold. The winter hay fever symptoms may be due to allergic rhinitis, an allergic reaction that triggers the inflammation of mucous membranes. This post will analyze the factors that trigger the disease and give you the first course of action towards treating it.
Triggers of Winter Hay Fever
- Dust Mites
The leading cause of allergic rhinitis is dust mites, little bugs that can live in surfaces like carpets and sofas. Since people spend most of the winter indoors, dust mites turn out to be a major trigger of hay fever. Additionally, dust builds up in radiators during summer, and when turned on during winter, the dust easily gets blown into the air.
It is therefore advisable to hoover and dust your house regularly to clear dust and dust mites off the surface. Also, wash your bedding frequently and consider changing the fabric sofa to a faux leather or leather one.
Mould is a common phenomenon in homes during winter. The most affected areas include the bathroom, cupboards, and in the corners of rooms. If you are always indoors during winter, mould can be the significant trigger of unpleasant allergic reactions, including hay fever.
You can counter this trigger by ensuring that all your surfaces are clean as soon as signs of mould start to appear. You can also keep mould at bay by keeping your home warm and dry. Ensure your rooms are well ventilated too.
Once again, spending more time indoors during winter exposes you to your pets and exacerbates hay fever symptoms. However, it is not the pet hair that causes the symptoms and the disease, but the tiny flakes of skin referred to as dander.
You can avoid this trigger by keeping a distance from your pet. Therefore, consider keeping your pet in a separate room. You can also remove soft furnishings like carpets, sofas, and curtains as with dust mites to avoid dander getting trapped there.
- A) Drug Therapies
The first course of action when starting on the treatment of winter hay fever is to keep away from substances that cause the condition. However, when hay fever becomes severe, there are effective drug therapies available from pharmacies that can be administered to the patient. They include topical nasal steroids, certain decongestants, and antihistamines. These drugs are available over-the-counter, and from online pharmacies.
Antihistamines are the most common drug therapies for allergic rhinitis. However, medical practitioners will advise you to avoid taking the older generation antihistamines if you are planning to drive as they can cause drowsiness. The new generation of antihistamines have much less of a sedative effect.
Nasal steroids are also effective in relieving symptoms of hay fever by reducing the inflammation caused by the allergic reaction. Decongestants, on the other hand, can help unblock nasal passages and help you breathe more easily.
- B) Subcutaneous Immunotherapy
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy is also referred to as allergy shots. This is a technique that increases your tolerance to the substances that are considered triggers of hay fever. As a result, the treatment makes you less sensitive to allergens. Subcutaneous Immunotherapy is recommended to patients who record no improvement after taking other medications or those who cannot tolerate them.
This treatment involves injecting an allergen into the patient’s body, in increasingly large amounts over time until a maintenance dose is reached. This effective dose is given at intervals and spread over three to five years, which eventually creates a tolerance to the allergen.
- C) Sublingual Immunotherapy
This is a pill normally placed under a patient’s tongue three months before winter or any other season that causes the allergies. Patients are required to take the medication every day until the end of the season.