When referring to nasal and eye allergies, the most common culprits during the winter season are indoor allergens. People usually spend more time indoors during the winter, so nasal allergies can worsen to indoor allergens. Common indoor allergens include: dust mites, pets, mold and even cockroach and mice. Common outdoor allergens are usually pollens and outdoor molds. As a general rule, trees pollinate during the spring, grass during the summer, and weeds during the fall. However there is a wide variation of these pollination times depending upon where you live. For example, in areas where the temperature seldom drops below freezing, such as southern Florida, there can be year-round pollen in the air due to many plants having very long pollination seasons.
Here in the Southeast, this winter season has been particularly warm as in many other regions of the U.S. Because of this warmth, some trees have already begun to pollinate. Typically the Juniper family of trees, also known as the “cedars,” begins pollinating first among the trees. This can be as early as late February, however local pollen counts have already begun detecting Juniper pollen this year. This early pollination may be a reason that some people who normally do not have nasal allergy symptoms during the winter have already begun having problems with sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy eyes. Physicians specializing in Allergy are available at Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates and can help you identify what you may be allergic to through simple skin testing. You can then follow your local pollen count at www.pollen.com which can help you determine what may be triggering your symptoms, as well as know what times to pay particular attention to incorporating strict avoidance measures.