Allergies are an overreaction of a person’s immune system to an allergen, an otherwise harmless protein that has no effect on a non-allergic person. Common sources of inhaled allergens are tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, cats, dogs, birds, cows, horses, rabbits and rodents. The overreaction of the immune system that results from contact with one or more of these inhaled allergens may cause annoying symptoms like coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and scratchy throat. A person will often have allergies to more than one allergen.
A February, 2017 allergy immunotherapy research study published in JAMA recommends that patients continue their subcutaneous (allergy shots) or sublingual (allergy drops) allergy treatment for at least 3 years for long term effectiveness.
Winter Allergy Triggers
The reason is simple: Many of those warm weather irritants are around all year, like pet dander, mold, and mildew. And once you settle indoors for the chilly holiday season — the windows closed, the heater on — your exposure to these allergens spikes, says Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine (allergy/immunology), at the College of Wisconsin.
The best way to handle winter allergies is to understand what’s triggering them and why.