With many Canadians having entered a work from home model, are they at risk of more allergy symptoms?
The answer to that question might come down to how often they clean! If one is allergic to dust, working from home may exacerbate symptoms. This is especially true in the cooler months when you may not want to open your windows, allowing the dust to accumulate. The lack of circulation too makes it easier for the dust to settle on furniture and everyday objects.
If you have the privilege of having a room to call your home office, then make sure you have good air circulation. Depending on the location of the office, it may not have windows, so a small fan may be your best option. Additionally, heating a home can quickly reduce the amount of moisture in the air. With closed doors and windows, a home office can easily contribute to dry mucous membranes.
A number of large-scale studies have demonstrated the connection between adequate ventilation and human health. There is even a term to refer to the range of symptoms that result from spending time in poorly lit, poorly ventilated offices – sick building syndrome. Better circulation has been shown to reduce the prevalence of airborne infectious diseases as it dilutes their numbers. The same goes for other environmental dangers including tobacco smoke and volatile organic compounds.
Why does the cold put me at risk of a dry nose?
This all comes down to the basic tenants of the water cycle! When the hot summer sun shines down on a body of water, it heats the water until it transforms to a gas state and enters the air. This is why the temperature on summer days is so variable. Add a bit of humidity and suddenly it traps more of the heat, making 20°C seem like 27°C.
The opposite happens in the winter as much of the moisture is trapped as ice and snow, and the sun isn't strong enough to melt and evaporate the water. This makes our skin and nasal passages extremely dry if we don't take care to use moisturizers, sprays or lotions.
When winter is finished, will my nose will moisten up?
Not necessarily. The transition between winter and spring can often be one of the most damaging for those with chronic nasal issues.
They have the dry mucous membranes from the winter air combined with the release of allergens in spring. However, some do suffer from major congestion throughout the winter because the body tries to compensate for the dry tissue by increasing mucous secretion.
What are some other common causes of dry nose?
- Certain saline sprays contain benzalkonium chloride as a preservative. Its presence may contribute to something known as rhinitis medicamentosa. This condition literally means inflammation of the nose due to the use of medication. Most often, it results from overuse of decongestant sprays.
Other drying medications may include those used to treat acne or diuretics used to treat high blood pressure due to their main action of increasing fluid leaving the body.
Finally, antihistamines reduce mucous and aqueous production, thereby reducing tears in the eye and mucous membrane protections of the nose.
- Various conditions may lead to a drying of the skin. These range from thyroid conditions to others known as Sjögren's Syndrome or scleroderma.
- Air pollution can influence everything from humidity to allergen concentration making us more prone to dry skin and allergies.
Are there ways to help prevent or treat these allergy symptoms?
Certain products like Allergy Relief are indicated for exactly that and have been shown to result in an 88.5% improvement in symptoms, especially nasal congestion.
Though if you find your nasal passages less congested and rather itchy and irritated, Dry Nose Relief is an option to consider. A combination of saline, chamomile and hyaluronic acid that focuses on lubricating and moisturizing the nasal passages. The addition of chamomile is meant to provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the irritated tissue.
Perhaps more interestingly was a study from 2016 that looked at steam inhalation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms and found it was not effective. They also showed that nasal irrigation was only slightly better and provided some symptomatic relief.
To wrap up, earlier we had mentioned the role of medications as a potential risk factor in developing dry nose. A trial from 2018 looked at those taking the acne medication, isotretinoin. The intervention group received the same dose of medication, but researchers also administered 1g of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) to their regime. Over 16 weeks, the group taking fish oil experienced fewer mucocutaneous side effects like dry nose.
Chat with your primary care provider to see if this is an option for you!
We also highly encourage you to read some of our other articles including '5 Tips to Fight Ragweed Allergies' and '6 Solutions to Get Rid of Hay Fever Rash' where we have dedicated entire articles to ragweed allergies!