Winter allergy - definition, symptoms and treatment

Allergies that occur in winter

Some allergies occur especially in winter. So nobody is allergic to winter, but people suffer more in the winter from allergies to dust mites and fragrances as well as from nut allergies.

What allergies occur in winter?

Winter aggravates the symptoms from allergy sufferers by the constant alternation of cold and humid air outside and warm, dry air inside. Around Christmas time, fragrant oils, Christmas sweets, mulled wine and candles also trigger allergies. And the dry heating air leads to an allergy to mites in house dust.

Why do these allergies occur in winter?

In winter, we spend more time in our living rooms because of the cold and are particularly exposed to the triggers of allergies, since the house dust floats in the dry air.


A winter allergy can easily be mistaken for a cold, because symptoms such as cough and runny nose are similar. Remember: if your eyes are red and itchy and your nose is running, it may also be an allergic runny nose - the cause is often dust mites.

You can check the following symptoms: If fever occurs, it is probably not an allergy, but typically a flu-like infection. The same applies to chills. White or colorless liquid that runs out of the nose is typical of an allergic reaction; thick and yellowish-green mucus, on the other hand, characteristic of a runny nose or a sinus infection; Itching in the nose and throat is atypical for a cold, but often occurs in connection with an allergic reaction.

Whirled up dust

Especially in winter, the living room climate is often unbalanced, there is too much heating and too little ventilation. Dust, spores and animal hair are now whirling up in the warm, dry air and with them the mites living in the house dust. Condensation freezes on the outer walls and molds can spread perfectly here - a health risk, not only for people who are sensitive to molds.

What to do?

The first thing that helps to prevent a winter allergy is to ensure a balanced indoor climate. Even in winter, ventilate the apartment several times a day and ensure that fresh and moist air flows into the room. Place bowls with water on the heater or spray your houseplants regularly - a humidity of 60 percent is optimal. Do not overheat the rooms, but leave it at a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. Use allergen-proof covers that do not affect the mites. Avoid scented candles and incense sticks if you suspect you are allergic to them.

Mites in bed

The warm air distributes the mites' droppings in the apartment, which triggers the allergic symptoms. The mites feed on dander and thrive in bedding. So pay attention to mite-tight covers here. Or air the blankets and wash them with an anti-mite detergent (ask at the pharmacy).

Food allergies

At Christmas time, we use a particularly large number of foods that trigger allergies, such as cookies, gingerbread and nuts. You notice that you are allergic to a food if it tingles in the mouth or itches the lips when eating. It becomes critical when the throat swells. Go to a doctor immediately.

Mulled wine contains histamine as a red wine. Some people are allergic to histamine, it is also found in cheese and smoked fish. If you get a headache and skin irritation at the Christmas market, it may be because of the mulled wine.


Paraffin candles can also cause allergies. Then there is a rash and breathing problems. If you may be allergic to paraffin, prefer beeswax or soy candles.

The house dust mite allergy

Dust mites are arachnids and are so tiny that you can hardly see them with the naked eye. These animals like to eat dander and they love moist warmth. In this respect, bed mattresses, duvets and bed boxes are an ideal zoo enclosure for you. But they also live on carpets, sofa covers, under cupboards, etc. - but most of all they like the bed because of the body heat and the moisture that the sweat of the sleepers produces. As an allergy sufferer, you can also tell the presence of the mites by the fact that they usually have the most severe symptoms when they wake up in the morning - then they inhaled the dust that triggers the allergies all night.


The symptoms are very similar to allergic reactions to other substances. The nose is blocked, tingling and running - especially in the morning. Some people have itchy eyes and are reddened. Strong allergies show up with coughing, breathing difficulties and a wheezing noise when breathing. An ongoing allergy to house dust mites leads to chronic nasal congestion, constant sneezing and annually recurring symptoms in the winter months. If you notice such symptoms, it is best to see an allergist. With special allergy tests, he determines whether it is a house dust allergy.


Most of the time, patients do not need to be treated; instead, the doctor advises keeping the bed and bedroom mite-free (see above). Hyposensitization is recommended in cases of severe allergy and restrictions due to symptoms. The doctor confronts those affected with a house dust mite preparation.

Nut allergies

Winter time is nut time. We not only eat nuts pure, but also in gingerbread, Christmas cookies and tarts. Allergies particularly trigger hazelnuts and walnuts. In the case of severe nut allergies, an allergic shock may result when these two are eaten. If you experience a burning or tingling sensation in your mouth when eating Christmas cookies, or if you experience gastrointestinal complaints or scratch the mucous membranes of the lips, it could be a nut allergy. You can check for yourself if these reactions occur if you eat nuts and stay away if you do not eat nuts. If in doubt, see an allergist. He uses blood and skin tests to determine whether there is a nut allergy.

Avoid nuts

The treatment is very simple, but difficult to adhere to. Avoid the nuts that trigger the allergy and foods that contain these nuts. Packaged foods contain a list of ingredients. For nuts, every single type of nut is mentioned, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts.

Essential oils

Various essential oils can trigger allergic reactions. In the EU, fragrances in essential oils are officially recognized as allergy triggers. It doesn't matter whether these oils occur naturally or are produced artificially. Since 2005, 26 allergenic fragrances in essential oils must be mentioned on the packaging. These include anise alcohol, benzyl alcohol, cinnamon alcohol, citronellol, eugenol, geraniol, linalool and coumarin. However, the allergic reactions are sometimes not triggered by the essential oil, but by synthetic admixtures, pesticide residues, oxidations or reactions of the chemical agents with chemical compounds in the room.

Not every physical irritation caused by an essential oil is necessarily allergic. Even if you are not allergic to essential oils, these can irritate the skin in higher concentrations - just like chilli provokes the mucous membranes, even if you are not allergic to them. Skin-irritating essential oils include cassia cinnamon, cinnamon bark, clove, oregano, savory, thyme and Peru balsam. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB): House dust mite allergy (accessed: June 26, 2018), daab.de
  • German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB): Fragrances as contact allergens (accessed: June 26, 2018), daab.de
  • German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine e.V .: house dust mite allergy (accessed: June 26, 2018), lungenaerzte-im-netz.de
  • European Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF); Nut allergy (accessed: June 26, 2018), ecarf.org
  • Austria's public health portal: Nut and peanut allergy (accessed: June 26, 2018), gesundheit.gv.at
  • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Fragrances - Risk of incompatibility reactions (available on June 26, 2018), Umweltbundesamt.de

ICD codes for this disease: J30ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: How to deal with fall and winter allergies (December 2021).