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Scratching the itch: Winter allergies explained

For many allergy sufferers, various seasons are associated with the corresponding physical ailments they bring. Individuals prone to reactions frequently experience itching, sneezing and runny noses when temperatures shift.

Dr. Maya Jerath, director of the Allergy and Immunology Clinic at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, told the Charlotte Observer exactly why we itch so much in the winter and what the best ways to alleviate these symptoms may be.

According to Jerath, the fibers that pick up itching signals are distinct from those that pick up pain signals. These fibers can fire in response to both chemical and physical stimuli, hence the reaction many people experience to the chemical histamine. Additionally, winter allergy sufferers itch more during the cold months because their skin is drier, further exacerbating symptoms.

Jerath acknowledges that while scratching an itch can be satisfying, it can perpetuate the sensation and also break down the skin, making the itching worse.

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