Winter allergy blues

So, it’s the winter season right now for most of the country (Houston has had highs in the 70s, but that’s besides the point), and the winter season means taking a break from allergy medications since nothing is pollinating, right? Well I’m going to make the argument that for some people staying on their meds, even during this season, may be in their best interest.

While most trees and grasses pollinate in the spring, there is definitely one notorious family that pollinates in the winter season – Mountain cedar. For anyone living in Texas (especially central Texas), the term “cedar fever” will elicit thoughts of runny noses, never ending watery eyes, and sneezing that makes it next to impossible to enjoy any new holiday release in theaters. In addition to cedar, there are the year-round indoor allergens such as cat dander, dog hair, and dust mites, which may even worsen since people are indoors more often – presumably to hide out from the cold weather. And lastly, there are all the usual winter suspects that make you sick: from the flu, to the stomach bug, to the good old cold.

Even mildly out of control allergies can magnify a simple cold and make it last forever. Taking a break from your allergy medicines causes those symptoms (however slight) to be worse and then you could be one cold away from developing a sinusitis. There are several options at this point, if your symptoms are truly mild at this time of year then perhaps decreasing dose/frequency or both maybe an option. Or there are always other more natural therapies that your doctor may recommend.

So what can you do if you don’t want to be on medications year round? Well, definitely figuring out what you’re allergic to via the right kind of allergy testing would be a good first step. Its important to see a board certified allergist so you know what you’re dealing with so you can approach it in the right way – either through avoidance, medications, or allergy shots.

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