How can heaters trigger winter allergies?

Dr. Alan Young, MD
Family Practitioner

Heaters can trigger winter allergies by lowering the humidity. Dropping the humidity too much can irritate the nasal lining and trigger allergies or worsen allergy symptoms. Burning wood can also trigger allergies.

It’s a good idea to make sure humidity stays neutral in the winter, but not too humid. Using a humidifier can make it too humid, and humidity can trigger growth of mold, which can cause allergy symptoms. Instead, using a nasal spray is recommended.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

Heaters can trigger winter allergies because it creates congestion and makes the nasal passages very dry. In this video, allergy specialist Tania Elliot, MD, shares some solutions for keeping your nose, nasal passages, and lungs moisturized. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Heaters are one of the main reasons for winter allergies. When the furnace turns on, it doesn't just circulate warm air around the house, it spews out all the dust, mold and insect parts that have collected in the heating vents. If left unattended, this problem can lead to an entire season of headaches, sneezing and coughing. The solution is a simple one: heating vent filters should be high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters when possible, and should be changed at least once every 3 months.

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