Do You Have Fall and Winter Allergies?
By Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS
Most people think of allergies as a spring thing but allergies are becoming increasingly more common for many people in the fall and winter.
Some of the more common fall and winter allergens include pollen, mold, pet dander, dust, dust mites, feathers and fiber, and wood smoke. When inhaled, the particulate matter from these substances enters the nose and passes into the small ducts of the bronchi, causing mild to severe symptoms. Inhalant allergens may affect not only the respiratory system but the gastrointestinal and immune systems as well.
These types of allergies are all known as “inhalant allergies”—substances that are naturally inhaled while breathing—and they can become more pronounced because people are usually inside their homes more often in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.
Some Common Fall/Winter Allergies
Pollen~Mold~Pet dander~Dust~Dust mites
Feathers and fiber~Wood smoke
Reasons You May Have Fall/Winter Allergies
Here are just a few of the reasons you may experience allergic responses during the fall and winter:
- The chill of the season prompts you to close your windows and turn on your furnace or wood-burning stove. This circulates smoky and dusty airborne particulates.
- You tend to hang out with your pets more during these cold and rainy months, increasing your exposure to pet dander.
- You tend to sit on your couch and lounge in bed more often on those dark mornings, creating the conditions for feathers and fibers to start bothering you or for dust mites to set up housekeeping with you.
- The rainy, damp days naturally produce more household mold and mildew.
- You are a gardener and harvest in the fall, releasing pollen and mold spores from your plants.
If you recognize yourself doing any of these activities, you may become symptomatic in the fall and winter. In addition, if you are already a person who experiences food or chemical sensitivities, it should not surprise you that you are also more likely to experience an inhalant allergy response(s).
Inhalant allergies can be extremely difficult to sort out. Part of the problem is that there are three main sources of allergens that are nearly impossible to avoid which explains why we can have an allergy anytime of year, not just in the spring. Allergens are found in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the chemicals we are exposed to daily in our homes and environment. Household dust, for example, can be broken down into 18 organic products and 14 inorganic products, depending upon its source!
A lot of resources exist to help people make lifestyle changes in their environment to mitigate the impact of the allergens they become sensitive to. But that can be a tough job when we breathe more than two tablespoons of solid particles every day! Or that mold and pollen spores can travel for 15 to 20 miles in an agricultural region such as ours during the fall harvest season. Or an average six-room house accumulates 40 pounds of dust in a year … no matter how well we clean our houses! If you suffer from indoor allergies in the fall and winter, it’s simply not a viable solution to start living outside.
“You may have gone to your doctor for testing but were told you do not have any or many allergies. But you know that something is definitely bothering you. Why the discrepancy? Because your doctor tested only for allergies, not sensitivities. The fact is that far more people have sensitivities than allergies—which can go undetected by traditional allergy testing.”—Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS, Allergy and Digestive Relief Center
Allergy Symptoms Make ID Complex
While there are some common symptoms to inhalant allergies such as sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose, itchy, red, or watery eyes, and hoarseness, there are also both systemic symptoms and specific symptoms to each kind of allergen.
Symptoms systemic to inhalant allergens include headaches, swollen lymph glands, panic attacks, cold- and flu-like symptoms and gastrointestinal problems. Eighty five percent of pollen, for example, ends up in our stomachs! And once inhaled, mold allergies not only colonize in our noses but also in our tummies because they love those dark, moist places.
When allergic symptoms become systemic, they naturally compromise our immune system as it works to fight off the fungal (e.g., mold), and parasitic (e.g., dust mites) allergens. Systemic bacterial and viral infections may also result because of an overwhelming histamine release and the mucus production that often accompanies an allergic response.
Symptoms specific to each type of allergen include, for example, if the whole eye is itchy, then a pollen allergy is more likely to be the cause but if only the inner corner of the eye is itchy it’s more likely to be a food allergy—yet there is no itching of the eyes (or nose) if it’s a mold allergy! Or pollen allergies are worse outdoors from 8am to noon whereas a mold-sensitive person experiences a worsening of symptoms between 5 and 9pm.
How We Can Help
Here at the Allergy and Digestion Relief Center, we work to understand these subtle differences so that we can identify the allergen(s) and then desensitize or “reprogram” the brain and the immune system so that you are no longer sensitive. If you have tried shots, antihistamines, and avoiding exposure, then maybe it’s time to consider a different approach—a desensitization treatment so that your body no longer identifies the substance(s) as a foreign invader.
If your allergies are acting up this fall or winter, or if you would simply like to strengthen your immune system to prevent more allergies or other immune-compromised conditions, please give us a call at 530-899-8741 for a consultation with Dr. Patrick. You can also learn more about how Dr. Patrick helps your body cope and rid itself of other fungal, parasitic, and infectious conditions naturally by visiting our website at www.DigestionReliefCenter.com.
Since 1999, Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, IHS, has helped North State residents by using a whole-body systems approach to health. He specializes in providing natural relief for food and environmental sensitivities, intolerances, and digestive problems. For more information contact Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 or visit www.DigestionReliefCenter.com.
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