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January 12, 2024

Winter Health Challenges: Navigating Seasonal Conditions with Care with Kea Trespalacios, PA-C

by Kea Trespalacios, PA-C

As winter descends with its chilly winds and shorter days, some health conditions may exacerbate, posing challenges for individuals managing these issues. Kea Trespalacios, PA-C with Avance Care Midtown Charlotte is helping us explore specific health conditions that may worsen during the winter months and providing actionable tips for managing and treating them effectively.

Seasonal Allergies


While commonly associated with spring, allergies can persist or worsen during winter due to indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold. Cold weather also prompts more time spent indoors, increasing exposure to these triggers.

Management and Treatment

  • Keep indoor spaces well-ventilated.
  • Use air purifiers to reduce indoor allergens.
  • Wash bedding and curtains regularly in hot water.
  • Consider over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids.
  • May use a saline rinse product to remove allergens from nasal passageways.



Cold air can be a potent trigger for asthma symptoms, causing airways to constrict making breathing difficult. Additionally, respiratory infections prevalent in the winter, can worsen asthma symptoms.

Management and Treatment

  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Stay indoors during extremely cold or windy days.
  • Ensure asthma medications are taken as prescribed. Always have a rescue albuterol inhaler on-hand.
  • Get a flu and COVID vaccine to reduce the risk of respiratory infections.



Cold weather often intensifies joint pain and stiffness for individuals with arthritis. The exact reasons are not fully understood, but changes in barometric pressure and the body’s response to cold may contribute.

Management and Treatment

  • Dress warmly with layers to maintain joint temperature.
  • Engage in regular, gentle exercise to keep joints flexible.
  • Consult a healthcare professional for personalized treatment options.

Dry Skin Conditions (Eczema and Psoriasis)


The combination of cold, dry air and the use of indoor heating systems can exacerbate symptoms of dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Itchy, flaky, and inflamed skin may become more pronounced during winter.

Management and Treatment

  • Moisturize regularly using fragrance-free, hypoallergenic creams and ointments. Typically, the thicker the product the better.
  • Use mild soaps for sensitive skin. Avoid long hot showers and use lukewarm water instead. If you do take a hot shower, try to moisturize as soon as you leave the shower.
  • Humidify indoor spaces to prevent excessive skin dryness.
  • Identify and avoid triggers that worsen symptoms, such as products with strong fragrances. Even emotional stress can increase frequency of psoriasis and eczema flairs. Wool clothing can make itchy skin even itchier.
  • Consult your PCP or dermatologist for personalized treatment plans.

Raynaud’s Disease


Raynaud’s Disease is characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels in response to cold or stress, leading to reduced blood flow to certain areas, usually fingers and toes. Winter temperatures can trigger episodes, causing color changes and numbness. Pinker fingers in the cold is completely normal, but fingers clearly turning pale or even blue would potentially indicate Raynaud’s disease.

Management and Treatment

  • Keep extremities warm with gloves and warm socks.
  • Dress in layers to maintain overall body warmth.
  • Avoid smoking, as it can constrict blood vessels.
  • Use hand warmers or warm water to alleviate symptoms during episodes.
  • Consider medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Winter can be a challenging season for those managing specific health conditions, but with proactive measures and targeted treatments, individuals can navigate the colder months more comfortably. Whether it’s allergies, asthma, arthritis, dry skin conditions, or Raynaud’s Disease, understanding the unique challenges each condition presents allows for tailored strategies to mitigate symptoms and enhance overall well-being. Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized advice is crucial in effectively managing these conditions during the winter months.

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