Healthwise: Dr. James Tarbox talks about winter allergies

Healthwise: Winter Allergies

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - We hear a lot about spring allergies but that doesn’t mean that we’re home free in the winter. Even when the plants are not pollinating, there are other triggers that can make us congested.

Dr. James Tarbox, an allergist and Texas Tech Physician, says Christmas comes with quite a few of them.

First, consider the Christmas tree. He says “You could be allergic. Some people are allergic to Pine, Douglas, Cypress. You could also be allergic to the mold that’s growing on trees. I’m not trying to support buying artificial Christmas trees because I know people like fresh Christmas trees with the smell coming off the Christmas tree. But that’s another issue. The smell coming off your tree, you could react to that.”

Dr. Tarbox says most people know those irritants will leave when the season changes, but you can cut down on the problem by keeping ornaments free of dust and making sure no water drips from the tree onto the carpet. Also, he says holiday fragrances are a common trigger for allergies, So sensitive people should try to avoid the scents of the season.

He says some people will struggle with winter hives. That mostly comes from dry skin, but he says there are some unfortunate people who develop hives because of their exposure to cold weather, although that is rare.

He says don’t try to figure out if you’re sick by the color of your mucous. He says that’s overrated.

Yellow or green mucous can mean either a cold OR allergies. Dr. Tarbox says it’s usually a wasted effort to try to get antibiotics for a runny nose because antibiotics won’t do anything to help a cold.

Bottom line, Dr. Tarbox says a winter cold is very common and he gives credit to mom’s age old advice, drink plenty of fluids, rest and enjoy chicken soup because that’s the best plan of attack.

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