When you think of hayfever, you think of watery eyes, sneezing, coughing and wheezing. Do seasonal allergies have other symptoms? Can seasonal allergies cause your skin or scalp to itch? Yes, seasonal allergies release a neurotransmitter called histamine that causes blood vessels to dilate and this can cause your skin to itch and even rashes such as hives or eczema.
How what you breathe affects your skin
It may seem strange that something you breathe can cause a problem with your skin, but it’s all related to the immune system.
Seasonal allergies are caused by windblown ragweed pollen or mold spores. These tiny bits contain proteins that your body misidentifies. When you inhale an allergen, your body doesn’t see a harmless protein, it sees an evil invader.
The immune system begins strong warfare, and one of its primary weapons is histamine. Histamine affects almost all parts of your body, including the nervous and digestive systems. It causes blood vessels to swell. You can have hives (red raised bumps) or eczema (flaking skin) or just dry, itchy skin. That’s how seasonal allergies cause your skin to itch. Now here’s what to do about it.
Avoid allergens like pollen and mold outside
The best way to stop an allergic reaction before it starts is to avoid the allergen. With seasonal allergies, that’s a bit easier said than done.
Unless you can spend the entire Fall season locked inside, with all doors and windows sealed, you aren’t going to completely avoid seasonal allergens. But you can reduce your exposure.
Time outdoor activities when pollen counts are low. Dawn and dusk are high pollen times. Try to run, golf, play tennis or enjoy other outside activities later in the morning or in the very early evening. Many weather apps provide pollen counts too. Use these apps to schedule your apple picking, picnics, hayrides and corn maze fun when possible.
Raking leaves sends mold spores airborne, where they are easier to inhale. Wear a pollen mask that stops mold spores from entering your respiratory system while you rake. The Q-Mask or Vogmask face masks stop particles as small as 2.5 micrometers and that’s enough to stop seasonal allergens.
Keep outdoor allergens outdoors
Pollen and molds can hitch a ride on clothes, hair, and shoes. Keep them outside by removing shoes before you come inside. Store jackets and hoodies on hooks by the door. They are likely loaded with pollen that you don’t want in the rest of the house. In addition, shower, wash your hair and change clothes when you do come inside.
Don’t change clothes in the bedroom or leave pollen-coated clothes in the bedroom. Change clothes in the bathroom. The abundance of hard surfaces in a bathroom makes it easier to clean and remove pollen hitchhikers. When you spread pollen in your bedroom, you will just end up sleeping with it. That’s a bad idea.
Since pets can bring pollen and mold in on their fur, it’s a good idea to keep them inside as much as possible. If they do enjoy time outdoors with you, brush their fur frequently to remove pollen before it can come inside. Brush the pet outside.
Keeping hydrated can be tough at any time of year. Cooler months present an even greater challenge. With mild temperatures, you may not perspire or feel warm. This may keep you from recognizing the need to drink water. Your body is made of water, and if you aren’t drinking enough your skin will dry out. Dry skin exacerbates the itching from seasonal allergies. Shoot for drinking at least ½ gallon of filtered water per day. That may sound impossible, but its only 8 8-ounce glasses.
Keep your skin moisturized as well. Apply moisturizer liberally after the shower or bath (Vanicream Skin Cream is a great choice), while the skin is still wet and again throughout the day. Hydrated skin doesn’t itch as much.
Limit the use of decongestants but take antihistamines
In the fight against other allergy symptoms, you may take decongestants. Decongestants bring relief to respiratory symptoms. But, they are dehydrating and can cause dry, itchy skin. That’s a terrible side effect when you’re itchy to start. While taking decongestants, be sure to drink more than the recommended amount of water to keep your skin and the rest of your body hydrated.
Do take antihistamines to combat your itchy skin from seasonal allergies. Start taking your allergy medication at the first signs of symptoms and don’t stop until allergy season ends. New generations of allergy medication don’t cause drowsiness and are safe to take for an extended period of time.
A word of caution about discontinuing use of allergy medication: while the FDA doesn’t officially recognize itching skin as a withdrawal symptom of cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec) the internet is full of people that are faced with this side effect when they stop taking this allergy medication cold turkey.
Allergy shots or sublingual treatments are effective treatments for pollen allergies. The goal of immunotherapy is to reduce the body’s reaction to a certain allergen. As a result, less histamine is released. This reduces your symptoms, including the itchy skin caused by seasonal allergies.
Immunotherapy takes an investment of time because treatments occur over an extended period. But if your seasonal allergies cause your skin to itch and your eyes to water, it is worth investigating.
Now you know!
So, now you know. Seasonal allergies can cause your skin to itch, along with respiratory symptoms. You can reduce the itchy skin from seasonal allergies by avoiding pollen when possible, limiting the pollen you bring inside, drinking plenty of water, limiting the use of decongestants but liberally using allergy medication and using immunotherapy.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store
P.S. Allergy elimination is about eliminating the allergy-causing substance in your home the best you can. Once you do this, you may be able to eliminate the need for all the medications and doctor visits. For additional information please click here to download your free copy of" You Can Do It! Allergy Free Living.