For doctors to successfully treat what causes winter allergies, they have to understand the area you live in and your particular allergies. Is the climate of the area wet or dry? What fauna populates the area?
Florida’s winter allergies can be linked back to the state’s mild winters and humid climate. For some, Florida’s long, warm seasons can lead to a seemingly perpetual battle with chronic sinusitis and allergies. When the weather’s nice, some people might be okay but then struggle with intense allergies when it becomes colder.
Sound familiar? If you struggle with allergies during Florida winters, read on to discover more about what causes winter allergies in Florida and how you can find relief.
What causes winter allergies in Florida?
Same old, same old:
Floridians don’t exactly live in a winter wonderland state, and the lack of grass during the colder months might leave you wondering, “How can you suffer from allergies in the winter?”
For that reason, if we’re having a particularly long summer, what causes winter allergies (and what causes fall allergies) in Florida is the exact same thing that causes allergies in the spring and summer: primarily, grass pollen.
Jack Frost (and allergies) nipping at your nose:
Can cold weather trigger allergies? Unfortunately, yes. When the season does change in Florida, ragweed and mold begin to thrive.
Ragweed produces the pollen that, at its thickest, might cover your car in a yellow dust. It’s also known for causing a winter cough that creates a tickling sensation in your throat. For those allergic to ragweed, this tickling sensation can be triggered by eating melons.
If you change your air filter regularly and keep your house well-vacuumed and dusted, you can escape ragweed when you’re indoors. However, mold allergies in winter can lead to both indoor and outdoor winter allergies.
Inside, mold enjoys setting up camp in wet areas (like the kitchen and bathroom). Outside, mold can often be found in areas where wetness can stay collected (such as rotted logs, piles of damp leaves, and compost).
Is it possible to be allergic to snow?
Even though it rarely snows in Florida, we would be remiss not to mention the following when reviewing what causes winter allergies. No-one is allergic to snow; however, you can be allergic to the cold.
The condition known as “cold urticaria” or “cold-induced urticaria” occurs when your body has a negative physical reaction to the cold. Those who suffer from cold urticaria can experience hives, skin rashes, swelling, trouble breathing, and more when they come into contact with the cold.
It’s unlikely that anyone in a warm place such as South Florida would have a reaction brought upon by the natural environment. Keep in mind, however, cold urticaria can be triggered by being in an overly air-conditioned room, swimming in cold water, or eating and drinking cold food.
Winter allergies vs. cold
Now that you know what causes winter allergies in Florida, how can you be sure that your runny nose, congestion, and sneezing are caused by allergies and not a cold? At Sinus Solutions of South Florida, we look out for the following signs that your symptoms are caused by allergies:
- An increased itchiness in the nose and eyes. Winter eye allergies are triggered more by mold than ragweed and can be accompanied by swelling of the eyelids.
- A reduction in symptoms with the use of antihistamines. Antihistamines provide relief for sinuses irritated by allergies but not by sinuses irritated by the cold virus.
- A reaction to allergy testing. Sometimes it’s difficult even for professionals to suss out whether your symptoms are created by allergies or a cold (especially if you’re suffering from both). Allergy testing can provide much-needed clarity.
How to get rid of winter allergies in Florida
Knowledge may be power, but you’re going to feel pretty powerless if you know only what causes winter allergies and not how to get rid of them. Go-to treatments for winter allergies often include: avoiding the allergen, taking OTC antihistamines, using nasal sprays, and participating in immunotherapy.
These treatments can provide substantial relief. For some, however, they may still not be enough. Luckily, they still have the options of balloon treatment for chronic sinusitis or ClarifFix.
Balloon treatment for chronic sinusitis, also known as balloon sinuplasty, is minimally invasive, can be performed in-office in less than 21 minutes, and requires little recovery time. During the procedure, your doctor inserts and inflates a tiny balloon within your sinus cavities, expanding them so your sinuses can flow more easily. To see if you’re a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty, take our sinus quiz.
ClariFix is also minimally invasive, can be performed in-office in as little as three minutes, and requires little to no recovery time. During this procedure, your doctor inserts a cooling probe (known as the ClariFix cryoablation device) into your sinuses. The doctor then places this probe next to the nerve that signals the production of mucus (a nerve called the posterior nasal nerve, or PNN). Afterward, the doctor cools the nerve with nitrogen gas.
What should I do now that I know what causes winter allergies in Florida?
Dealing with allergies during any season can be a miserable affair. Unfortunately, since allergies seem so ubiquitous and (if you’re lucky) can disappear for months, it’s common to deem allergies as annoying but unavoidable.
However, visiting an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor can be transformational, especially for those with chronic allergies. Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer is one of the most experienced ENT and balloon sinuplasty doctors in the Tampa and West Palm Beach areas. He and his staff at Sinus Solutions of South Florida have helped thousands of patients get long-term relief from seasonal and/or chronic allergies in just a few short appointments.
It’s never too early to get out in front of your winter allergies. For more information, call us at 561-790-7744 or request a consultation online today.
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