December 1, 2022
What Are The Top Allergens In December Across The Country?
The winter holidays are here, and it's beginning to feel festive across the U.S. The frost forming on the grass and trees means that there will be no more pollination for plants and flowers. This is a much anticipated break for many from the sneezing and itchy, watery eyes that fall allergies can produce.
December Allergies in the Northern United States
The north is continuing to get colder and colder! And in some places, it may be cold, gloomy, snowy, or wet outside. This makes spending all day indoors even more attractive. However, along with the warm fire and comfy blankets comes the lurking threat of indoor allergens. Allergens like mold, pet dander, and dust are known as perennial allergens or environmental allergens, meaning that they survive and keep you sneezing all year long no matter the season. Luckily for you, there are ways to avoid these allergens!
Top December Allergens:
- Pet dander
December Allergies in the Southern United States
Are you ready for your allergies to kick back up again? Winter is actually one of the worst allergy seasons in Texas due to cedar pollen, sometimes referred to as juniper. Obviously, this is dependent on which allergens you're affected by; cedar tends to be a severe allergen that affects many people. Cedar trees are known to release pollen 10 days after the first freeze, so this allergen can become a problem at the end of November or December. It's important to check the news and weather when there's rain on the horizon or winds from the south kicking up pollen since these elements can cause allergies to be dramatically amplified when it comes to cedar!
Top December Allergens:
- Mountain Cedar (Juniper)
- Cypress Pine
December Allergies in the Eastern United States
Enjoy the nice winter break while it lasts in the East! Outdoor allergens are slowly but surely decreasing, but keep an eye out for indoor allergies since you’re most likely spending more time inside at home. Allergens such as dust and pet dander can reach high counts. Luckily, keeping a clean house and a few other key prevention tips can help decrease your indoor allergies greatly.
Top December Allergens:
- Pet Dander
December Allergies in the Western United States
The weather is finally starting to get chilly in the West. Too bad this doesn't affect Juniper trees. Juniper tends to be a really severe allergen, especially during the winter because it is a hearty tree. While states like New Mexico and Arizona can get snow, their Juniper season can still be bad. If you’re further northwest, you might be experiencing more indoor allergens like dust, which can be responsible for your bad symptoms.
Top Allergies in December Across the Country:
Juniper trees are one of the most popular plants used in landscaping and gardens. Their berries are used for cooking and flavoring, but their pollen can also be a major problem for allergy sufferers.
Juniper trees can release grains of pollen that range in size from about 20 to 30 microns, which is small enough to become airborne, causing major issues for allergy sufferers miles away. These small grains of pollen can stick to anything, including your hair, clothing, bedding, and furniture, eventually finding their way into your lungs. Why is Juniper so bad? Juniper pollen is unique because it can cause allergic reactions in people with other environmental allergies. Sadly, this means that this might be the only time of year that you suffer from allergies, and if that’s the case, it typically means that you're very allergic to juniper. While Juniper is especially in states like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, the pollen can travel very far.
Symptoms of juniper allergies:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Allergy headaches
- Sore throat
- Constant sneezing or wheezing
How to prevent juniper allergy symptoms and reduce juniper exposure:
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly. This will help reduce the amount of pollen sitting in your home.
- Be sure to keep doors and windows closed, as a small breeze can bring in a large amount of pollen.
- Use a HEPA filter to reduce pollen in the air.
Juniper allergy treatments:
- It's good to get ahead of your juniper allergy because of how severe the symptoms can get. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are a great way to begin treating a cedar allergen. These are consistent shots given in the office either weekly or biweekly. These shots work to slowly build up the body's tolerance to the allergen. Allergy drops work in the same way, building your body's tolerance, but they're just 3 drops under the tongue, meaning they can be taken anywhere! If you're tired of suffering from the harsh juniper symptoms, our ExACT treatment is our quickest treatment; with just 3 shots over the span of 8 weeks, it's clinically proven to be just as effective as 3 years of allergy shots!
Pets can be a great source of companionship and affection, but they may also trigger allergies in some people. Many people with pet dander allergies are surprised to find out that their pet is the culprit. While we think of cats and dogs as our pets, this could also mean guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters—really anything that will shed dead skin cells can trigger an allergy. While dead skin can trigger an allergy, so can the proteins found in pet saliva, urine, and feces. Some people may be more sensitive than others to a particular animal's dander or saliva proteins. You could have one animal that causes no problems while another causes severe symptoms such as hives, sneezing, and itching eyes. The best way to know if you are truly allergic is to see an allergist who can perform tests on your specific symptoms and determine what you're reacting to.
Pet allergy symptoms:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Contact dermatitis (skin rashes or hives)
How to prevent pet allergy symptoms:
- Reduce exposure to pets if you know that you're allergic. It can be tricky to know what exactly you're allergic to, especially if you've narrowed it down to indoor allergens.
- Don't let your pets on the furniture or in the bedroom. Areas where you can be in close contact with dead skin cells can really make your allergies act up.
- Vacuum frequently. Pet hair and dander are extremely small and can hide in every crack and crevice in your house. Be sure to clean weekly to avoid allergies getting worse.
- Wash your hands. if you come into direct contact with your pet. This is especially important if you know you have a pet allergy.
Pet allergy treatments:
If there are serious symptoms of pet allergies, such as rashes, hives, or trouble breathing, take an antihistamine.
If you’re looking for long-term allergy relief, immunotherapy (allergy shots) is a great way to go! Allergy shots are administered by an allergist. You receive injections every week until your immune system is able to tolerate the allergen without having an allergic reaction. The goal is to reduce or eliminate allergic reactions altogether! Allergy drops work in a similar way, slowly introducing the allergen to the body through drops that go under your tongue. This treatment is great for those who want an easy way to manage their allergies but don't have time for frequent office visits. Our ExACT treatment is a convenient alternative to allergy shots that requires just 3 shots over the span of 8 weeks! This treatment has been clinically proven to be just as effective as three years of allergy shots!
Mold counts are on the rise as we get further into the holiday season. As we start pulling out old Christmas decorations that have been sitting in boxes for the better part of the year, you might notice your allergies getting worse. This is due to both dust and mold. Most families keep holiday decorations up in warm, humid places, such as basements or your garage. These are breeding grounds for mold, especially if you keep your items in cardboard boxes that can easily trap moisture in. There can also be mold and other pollen on your live Christmas tree as well. Some studies have shown that more than 50 kinds of mold can be found on Christmas trees. So if you’re feeling extra sneezy around your tree, that could be a reason why.
Mold Allergy Symptoms:
Some common allergy symptoms you might experience from mold are:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
Mold Allergy Prevention Tips:
If your allergies are getting worse due to your Christmas tree here are some actions to take:
- Clean your real or fake tree before bringing it inside. This can be done with a simple hose down or using a bleach solution if you have a real tree. Just make sure your real tree is all the way dry before putting it up.
- Switch your storage. If you’re keeping your tree in a cardboard box the chances of mold growing are increased. Try a plastic container, or a tree bag instead.
- Limit your time. Christmas trees can have a multitude of allergens, if you’re still feeling bad, it might be worth it to only keep your tree up for a couple of days or weeks.
Mold Allergy Treatments:
Luckily, mold allergies can be treated! If you’re looking for long-term treatment options: allergy shots, allergy drops, or even our ExACT Immunoplasty treatment will help treat the root cause of your mold allergy, not just mask the symptoms.
Allergies can be a pain, no matter where you live. You shouldn’t miss out on the joy of celebrating the holidays just because you're suffering through endless sneezing fits, stuffy noses, and general misery. With treatment and preventative care, you can have all your holiday fun without sacrificing your health and quality of life. Book an appointment today and see how you can treat your allergies.