When people think of pollen irritants, sneezing and wheezing comes to mind. But this fine flying powder can bring an allergic reaction much more annoying than a runny nose.
Seasonal allergies are an overresponse of the immune system to irritants such as pollen. Unfortunately, this response can lead to some frustrating skin issues as well.
The Year-Round Season
The allergy "season" for some can be more of an ongoing year-round event than a single season. When most people think of seasonal allergies, they think of spring's budding flowers (and all the pollen that comes with it). But spring is not the only season raising both pollen counts and concerns about adverse allergic reactions.
Trees and grasses continue to pollinate through summer. Ragweed is a culprit through late fall. Cedar picks up from there and continues through winter.
So depending on where you live and what you are allergic to, you might find your "seasonal" allergies are happening in more than one season. And possibly all year for some.
Seasonal Allergy Triggers
Seasonal allergies are mostly caused by plants. Airborne substances like tree pollen, and allergens from grasses and weeds, can be found on almost every area of the globe.
Mild climates may have a longer allergy season, but early warming can flare up pollen production. Pollen levels peak in the early hours of the day. And though rain washes them away, they will soar again soon after rainfall ends.
Some of the highest allergen producing plants include:
- Box elder
- Johnson, Kentucky
- Mountain elder
- Oak trees
- Perennial rye
- Redtop grasses
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Typical symptoms caused by allergens can include coughing, sneezing, excess mucus production and red watery eyes with swelling.
Other allergy symptoms can include:
- Irritated skin
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Allergy rashes
- Itchy scalp
- Skin Reactions
Skin reactions to allergens
Some of the most frustrating reactions to pollen involve irritated skin.
Skin issues from allergies can include
- Dry skin
- Scaly patches
- Prolonged skin sensitivity
- Widespread allergic skin rashes
And while the realities of allergy skin irritation may seem (literally) superficial, they can still be maddening.
Severely itchy skin causing hives can be a sign of atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema, that can include a loss of the surface of the skin. Predisposed people and those with compromised skin and should remain aware that allergies affect skin.
Therapeutics for Skin Allergies
When treating skin irritation many turn to hydrocortisone cream or beta hydroxy acids. You can seek advice from a board-certified dermatologist on the use of these. Be sure when using anything on your skin to always be on the lookout for harsh ingredients that could cause an adverse reaction.
Use hypoallergenic silk pillowcases
Reduce the toll of seasonal allergies on sensitive skin by eliminating contributing factors. Using Blissy's hypoallergenic dust mite proof covers when sleeping can help. These special pillowcases repel allergens that cotton pillowcases collect. These include things like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust mite waste.
Stop pushing your face into an allergen-covered pillow every night and switch to Blissy instead! Blissy has earned high praise from Good Housekeeping, Oprah's O Magazine, Allure, Glamour, Prevention and more.
Treatments for Common Allergens
For ordinary runny noses associated with seasonal allergy, nasal sprays are a common solace. Over the counter products, like oral antihistamines, can also mitigate symptoms.
For serious conditions, allergy testing can pinpoint the offending source with skin or blood tests performed by an allergist. An immunologist may recommend allergen immunotherapy as a follow up.
Alternative therapies for allergies
Some seek alternative remedies for allergy symptoms, such as:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium in yogurt
- Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae
- Vitamin C
- Shrub butterbur
- Herbal remedies
Always seek medical advice from a health care provider before trying alternative treatments.
Seasonal Allergies Management
During pollen season try to lower your exposure to allergens. The less you are in touch with irritants, the higher your chance of alleviating more adverse allergic reactions.
Keep your indoor environment as free of allergens as you can. Remove clothing once you come inside, take frequent baths, and sleep with a hypoallergenic pillow protector like Blissy.
Here are some other things to keep in mind about pollen allergies:
- Stay indoors on windy and dry days
- Go out after a good rain.
- Keep track of local reports on pollen counts
- Avoid mowing grass or gardening
- Don't hang clothes out to dry
- If outside when counts are high, wear a face mask
- Use A/C indoors and keep HVAC filters and ducts clean
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce mold spores
- Use HEPA filters in your vacuum
- Rinse your sinuses
Being Good to Yourself is the Best Medicine
Can seasonal allergies cause itchy skin? Yes. But rest assured there are ways to manage your skin. And treating yourself with some loving self-care can be the best medicine when you've covered all the other bases.
It is important that when you are home lying down at night that you don't think of it as just the finish to a long day. Think of this time as a time for cleansing soothing. Bask in it with Blissy.
- AACI. (2017, December 28). Seasonal Allergies | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. ACAAI Public Website. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/
- Asthma & Allergy Associates, P.C. (2021, March 30). Which Pollens Produce the Most Allergens? https://aacos.com/blog/which-pollens-produce-the-most-allergens/
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema) - Symptoms and causes. (2020, June 12). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273
- Glosz, M. C. S. (2020, September 18). The Top 6 Natural Remedies for Allergies in the Fall Season. ProHealth Longevity. https://www.prohealthlongevity.com/blogs/control-how-you-age/the-top-6-natural-remedies-for-allergies-in-the-fall-season?nbt=nb%3Amicrosoft%3Ao%3A425710482%3A1155587759064289%3A72224443255137&nb_mt=b&nb_bmt=bb&nb_oii=2324023984055321&nb_qs=what%20causes%20seasonal%20allergies&nb_fii=&nb_li_ms=&nb_lp_ms=79510&nb_pi=&nb_pc=&nb_ci=&msclkid=e91dc75283031e2572baa5b2fb34a3fd&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=HS%20-%20Search%20-%20DSA&utm_term=prohealthlongevity&utm_content=DSA%20-%20All%20Pages
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022, April 27). Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343
- T. (n.d.). Tree Pollen Allergy Season. The Tree Care Guide. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from http://www.thetreecareguide.com/tree-pollen-allergy-season/
- Yale Medicine. (2019, November 20). Seasonal Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis). https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/seasonal-allergies