Winter Hay fever? (Ah-choo!)

I usually get spring and autumn hay fever—but this year it has continued right through the winter. Itchy eyes and nose, sniffles, the usual symptoms. I figured I just had a cold or some unusual allergy to somethin’ or other . . . But I’ve been talking to several other people on the East Coast (co-workers; my Mom; Mom’s friends) who have also had hay fever symptoms all damn winter!

Has this been happening to anyone else on the East Coast? Anyone know what the hell is going ON this year?

Nothing much to add, other than count me in with those who have hay fever symptoms all winter. I usually count on winter as a time of relief, but not this year.

It hasn’t been too bad, but has gotten worse in the last couple weeks. I figured it was because everything is starting to get buds already…trees, etc. and the early flowers are starting to come up, like crocuses and daffodils.


Kinsey, where do you live? So far, this is people in northern NJ, New York and Pennsylvania with winter hay fever . . . I mean, it’s goddam SNOWING—I should NOT have hay fever!

Winter allergies.,9171,19916,00.html

House closed up tight, dust mites, pet dander, dirty air filters, fireplace smoke, etc. And then the furnace kicks on and stirs it all up.

Do you have warm-air heat (as opposed to hot-water or steam)? The four years I lived in West Virginia, I had allergies all winter, probably because of the dust and mold in the heating ducts. Here in Maine (with hot-water heat) I have winter allergies only when I get a dusty sweater (or the like) out of storage.

Eve, I’m in Baltimore.
And we’ve also had snow in the last couple weeks, interspersed with some warm sunny days. I have crocuses up all over the place (blooming) and my daffodils and tulips starting to come up.

I never start with the sneezing/runny nose/itchy eyes till later, but I’ve had it (very mildly) all winter, and the last couple of weeks have been worse. As I mentioned before, I can usually count on winter as a time of no allergies, but this past winter has seemed worse.

We have gas heat. I do have a problem with dust and mold, so I am very good about keeping the air filters clean, and the ducts get cleaned regularly.

The problem with your theory, D.D.G., is that I have never had winter allergies till this year, and neither have the other people I’ve spoken to—we can’t all suddenly be having trouble with “dust mites, pet dander, dirty air filters, fireplace smoke, etc.” Plus, it’s been a COLDER than usual winter, which I’d assume would kill the things that usually cause allergies!

Maybe it’s just the alien spores then…


The Asian ladybug (Harmonia axyridis) started showing up in my neck of the woods about 4 years ago, nesting inside the house in large numbers during winter. When crushed, they release a noxious oil that can apparently cause an asthma or allergy attack in susceptible people. In this Staff Report, Doug downplays the allergy/asthma angle, but Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy says

Another WAG I had is that perhaps particulates in the air from road treatment could be to blame. I’m thinking of sand, salt, and the salt substitutes, like calcium chloride. Here in Maine, road crews have had to use about twice the normal amount of salt this season.

Nice idea, Bib, but again we have the problem that people in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and Pennsylvania are all having winter hay fever for the first time this year. So I don’t think we could ALL be suffering from road work, or ladybugs (besides, it’s bad luck to kill them—you have to set them free!). Also—I don’t know about Kinsey—but I haven’t seen a single ladybug this season.

It must have something to do with weather patterns in the Northeast—but this has been a particularly cold and snowy winter, so I would THINK that less hay fever would result, not more . . .

Might be those alien spores, after all . . . I AM allergic to alien spores . . .