1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Winter Allergies

What's Causing Your Winter Allergies?

By

Updated May 28, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Winter Allergies
MECKY Collection/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Updated May 28, 2014
Think that allergies aren't a problem during the winter? Think again. Some areas of the country experience their worst allergy season during the wintertime, when mountain cedar pollinates. And even when the plants outside aren't pollinating, other triggers still exist to make your nose congested and runny. From indoor Christmas trees to outdoor mold and irritants such as cold and windy weather, there are a number of non-pollen sources of wintertime nasal symptoms. In addition, cold temperatures can lead to hives, which is called cold urticaria.

Winter Pollen Allergies

Mountain cedar is a type of juniper tree found mainly in South and Central Texas that pollinates in the winter, from December through March. In the areas where it grows, it is usually the only major pollen present during the wintertime. Mountain cedar is a major cause of hay fever, and people who suffer from this form of pollen allergy typically refer to it as “cedar fever.”

Learn more about mountain cedar allergy.

Runny Noses in Cold Weather

As the weather starts to turn cold and crisp around the country, people are packing their pockets with tissues to combat their runny noses. But this usually isn't due to allergies -- rather, it's caused by vasomotor rhinitis. This non-allergic form of rhinitis may result in a runny nose, post-nasal drip and/or nasal congestion. It is caused by a number of triggers, including temperature changes, windy weather, and changes in humidity, as well as strong odors, perfumes and smoke.

Learn more about the causes and treatment of a runny nose in cold weather.

Mold Allergies in the Winter

Airborne molds are well-known causes of allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, and can be present outdoors and indoors. In colder climates, molds can be found in the outdoor air starting in the late winter to early spring, especially during the rainy season. While indoor molds can occur year round and are dependent on moisture levels in the home, indoor mold levels are higher when outdoor mold levels are higher. Therefore, a common source of indoor mold is from the outside environment, although can also be from indoor mold contamination.

Learn more about mold allergy.

Christmas Tree Allergies

Think your allergies and asthma get worse once you bring that fresh pine tree indoors during the holidays? It may be more than just your imagination. For years, people have suspected that along with that fresh pine scent, a freshly cut Christmas tree worsened allergy symptoms -- but the reason hasn't been completely clear. Possibilities include pollen, mold spores and strong odors emitted from the tree.

Learn more about why indoor Christmas trees worsen allergy symptoms.

Hives in the Cold

Cold urticaria is a form of physical urticaria that is characterized by the development of hives and swelling with cold exposure. A variety of cold triggers can cause symptoms in people with this syndrome, including cold weather, cold food and drinks, and swimming in cold water.

Learn more about the causes and types of cold urticaria, as well as the treatments available.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Allergies
  4. Allergy Basics
  5. What's Causing Your Winter Allergies?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.