Nosebleeds, allergies and throat problems increase during holiday season, doctors say

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Upstate ear nose and throat doctors say indoor allergies typically worsen in the winter months and say holiday family gatherings can bring on other sinus and throat problems.

Bon Secours’ otolaryngologist Dr. Andrew Heffernan said he hears more complaints about nosebleeds in the winter than any other time of year.

“This time of year has drier, colder air, which can tend to cause nosebleeds by breaking up the vessels on the front of the nose,” he said. “People have the sniffles and tend to have a runny nose, so that can sometimes cause a nosebleed by frequent blowing of the nose and wiping their nose.”

To prevent nosebleeds, he recommended using a humidifier at night, trying a saline nose spray or dabbing Vaseline to the front of your nose once or twice a day.

He also says indoor allergies tend to flair up in winter months, caused by several allergens such as dustmites, cockroaches, pet dander and mold.

“Some of the things you can do to prevent household allergens are frequent washing of the sheets, [and] frequent vacuuming of your carpets.”

Dr. Heffernan recommends speaking up if you notice a family member has trouble hearing.

“During the holiday season is a time where hearing impairment issues first get picked up, and that’s generally picked up by family members,” he explained.

Throat issues can also arise during family gatherings, he added, due to shouting over one another.

“Some people have voice complaints over the holidays. If they’re having to talk and yell over family members, it may induce some vocal trauma. Sometimes even using amplification can be helpful or asking others to quiet down instead of shouting over people,” he said.

Dr. Heffernan said it’s time to come to an ear nose and throat doctor if your throat has been bothering you for over a month or if your hearing is detrimental to your everyday life.

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