Winter and Indoor Allergies

While colds and flus are common during the coldest months, if your symptoms seem to linger longer than a week or two, winter allergies could be the culprit, since your house is likely filled with a wide variety of indoor triggers. That means that your discomfort may really just be your summer allergies continuing.

When Symptoms Continue

Winter and allergies. If this sounds like a contradiction of terms, it's important to know that while seasonal allergies often resolve when the first frost sets in, but being stuck inside during the cold months can also be a major symptom trigger.

The Facts about Indoor Allergies

Indoor allergies are often overlooked but the fact is, they can cause a reaction that often continues long your seasonal allergens have disappeared. Therefore, you'll need to make an effort to allergy proof your home all year long—not just during the warmer months—so you won't need to suffer all winter long without relief from your worst symptoms.

Indoor Allergy Triggers

When it comes to controlling your indoor allergies, it's essential to identify the culprits that are prompting your symptoms. Only when you know what you're dealing with can you take steps to prevent your exposure to them.

Some of the most common indoor allergy triggers include:

  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Pets
  • Pest droppings
  • Smoke

Dust Mites

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that burrow in your bedding, curtains and rugs. To protect yourself from this serious allergy trigger, you'll need to allergy proof your environment, and particularly pay special attention to making your bedroom a safe haven. To this end, you can help to contain dust mites by protecting your mattress, pillows and box springs with hypoallergenic plastic covers. You can also wash your sheets, blankets and pillowcases in very hot water regularly to remove any allergens trapped in the weaves. Finally, minimize clutter in your room and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. These steps will go a long way in helping you feel better.


Molds can grow in dark, damp places in your home. Bathrooms, kitchens and basements are some of the most common mold-infested places. To keep this culprit from triggering your indoor allergies, monitor humidity levels and make sure they stay below 50 percent. Use a detergent and bleach mix to remove mold from surfaces where it grows. The relief you'll get in return when you minimize exposure to mold will make it well worth your effort.


If pet saliva or dander causes you to itch, cough or sneeze, there're things you can do to help control this trigger. Keep dogs and cats out of your bedroom. Clean common areas often to remove pet allergens from your furniture and rugs. Take a shower after playing with your pet so you don't bring this major trigger with you to bed. Finally, wash your clothes in hot water after wearing to remove every trace of pet dander.

Pest Droppings

No one wants to see a cockroach or other bug at home. But if you're allergic to their droppings, it's more important than ever to banish these pests from your life than you even realize. Block any cracks in your foundation or walls where bugs can gain entrance. Avoid any leaks, since water can attract bugs. Sweep, dust and vacuum often to remove food particle and crumbs. Call an exterminator if despite your efforts, bugs seem to be an ongoing problem in your home. Once pest are gone, you'll probably feel better on many levels.


Before you light your fireplace, think about the smoke and mess this action can take. Fireplaces can cause allergy symptoms and the problem is usually sparked by the smoke released by burning logs. Therefore, if lighting a fire is one of your favorite winter rituals, at least be sure to have your chimney cleaned yearly and check that the flue opens properly. Better yet, rather than using a wood-burning fireplace, invest in a gas alternative so you can enjoy a nice fire without having it take your breath away or causing you to cough and sneeze.

A Final Note

Regardless of what prompts your symptoms, remember that controlling indoor allergies starts by keeping your environment trigger free. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty of winter without your symptoms making you feel miserable.




American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)