All posts tagged allergies

Is It a Winter Allergy or a Cold?

by on January 18, 2016


If you’re suffering from symptoms that include sneezing, coughing, a blocked and stuffy nose, watery, itchy eyes and throat, it could actually be a winter allergy – not a cold – playing havoc with your respiratory system.

Much like pollen in the hay fever season, there are several allergens that are common around the home especially at this time of year such as dust mites, pet hair and dander, mold spores and pollen from certain trees that pollinate in the winter.

During the colder months we tend to spend more time indoors with the windows closed, resulting in poor ventilation around the home.

For those in the North East, this mild winter can signify an early allergy season, since trees tend to start pollinating earlier. Dry, windy weather spreads pollen quickly, producing a higher distribution of pollen…increasing allergy symptoms.

So not only are you more likely to come into contact with a higher level of some of these allergens but the dry environment caused by central heating also dries up your nasal passages.

This prevents the nose from functioning effectively and makes you more susceptible to an allergic reaction when the allergens get on the mucosal lining of the nose.

Quite simply the symptoms of a cold can be associated with fever and will usually last no longer than around eight to 10 days but a winter allergy can cause the symptoms to go on considerably longer.

Here are some common but possibly unexpected triggers you may want to look out for:

Christmas Left Overs

Real Christmas trees can be covered in invisible mold spores and contain a group of chemicals called terpenes which can cause allergic reactions.  Of these, 70 per cent can cause symptoms including itchy noses, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, sinus congestion, feelings of fatigue and problems sleeping.

Plus, chances are your festive decorations will have been sitting in storage gathering dust, the ideal breeding ground for dust mites which are one of the most common causes of indoor allergies. More than likely before you packed them up – some of the mites decided to hang around.

You’ll need a very through cleaning of the house! Every counter, crevice needs to be wiped down with a “Green” product – not Windex as it often contains ammonia, which can trigger allergies. An old trick always does the job: baking soda and vinegar.

Minimize Exposure

Minimize your exposure. Dust mites live in bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting; mold grows in damp places such as bathrooms and basements; and pets — well, if you have a dog or a cat, you should at least keep the animal out of rooms where you spend a lot of time, such as your bedroom.

And cockroaches. They are a major allergen and are widely prevalent in urban settings — both housing and schools.

Here is something gross. A study of 831 houses across the country found that two-thirds of the homes had detectable levels of cockroach allergens, and higher levels were found in high-rise apartments and older, urban homes. (Nearly half of the homes had high enough levels of dust mite allergens to produce allergic reactions.)

If your symptoms are ongoing and annoying enough to interfere with work, play or sleep, in a single visit, an allergy test can find out what you’re allergic to with a simple skin test.

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Is It a Winter Allergy or a Cold?


by on June 15, 2015

You may be among the 45% of normal adults who snore at least occasionally or you likely know someone who does especially if you have allergic rhinitis.


Allergic rhinitis occurs when allergens in the air are breathed by someone that is allergic to them, irritating and inflaming the nasal passages.

Allergic rhinitis (allergies) may occur year-round or seasonally. When it occurs seasonally it is usually caused by airborne particles from trees, grass, ragweed, or outdoor mold. Causes of year-round allergic rhinitis include indoor substances such as pet dander, indoor mold, and dust mites in bedding, mattresses, and carpeting.

For those allergic to dust mites, pollen, molds and pet dander it can trigger the release of a chemical in the body that causes nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. These symptoms can lead to poor sleep, which can greatly affect your life causing depression and fatigue.

It can also get very, very serious. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep, is linked with allergic rhinitis. OSA occurs when the muscles of the throat relax and fail to hold the airway open during sleep. Nasal congestion, which causes the upper airway to narrow, increases the risk of both snoring and OSA among allergic rhinitis patients.

So, how to make your bedroom a nearly allergy-free zone and get a good nights rest ?

Here are some of our tips


  • Clean regularly with natural products, as traditional cleaning supply fumes can set off an allergic reaction.
  • Wipe down your bedframe with a damp cloth weekly.
  • Cut the clutter — less stuff gives allergens fewer places to hide.
  • Don’t store things under the bed. It’s difficult to clean and dust (and dust mites!) love to hide under there.
  • Limit difficult-to-clean soft surfaces like carpets, upholstered items, and heavy draperies.
  • Houseplants are good air filters if you don’t have mold allergies.
  • Avoid Dust mites (actually, their excrement) are responsible for the majority of year-round allergy problems in the bedroom. They live in soft surfaces, and dust, and come out to eat the skin cells and oils we all shed throughout the day
  • Pillows and comforters should either be made of allergen friendly synthetics, or encased in protective covers. Down is an attractive home for dust mites, so be particularly careful to cover or remove all down bedding in your bedroom.
  • Hard floors are best for allergy sufferers, but if you have carpets, vacuum them regularly using a HEPA filtered vacuum. Traditional vacuum filters can spread allergens through the air and cause an allergic reaction.
  • Pollen loves to stick to hair and clothes when you go outside and has a tendency to follow you when you head back inside. Do not wear/bring dirty clothes or outerwear into your bedroom to avoid pollen transfer and bathe before going to bed at night.
  • Leave the windows closed. A fresh breeze is nice, but it can carry allergens in with it.
  • Houseplants should be kept outside of the bedroom. Mold can develop in the soil and on the plant itself, and might not be visible to you until after you’ve started having allergy problems.
  • We love our pets too. We recommend they sleep outside the bedroom – as they too are allergy carriers. If they do sleep with you – we recommend bathing them 2x per week.

Need additional guidance? Call Dr. Mariotti to discuss and treat your allergic rhinitis. T: 570-714-3434


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