First Derm’s breakdown of the top 5 allergies ruining your summer.
1. Ragweed Pollen – Public Enemy No. 1
Pollen season is here. It makes our vegetables grow and flowers bloom. For those of us lucky enough to be seasonal allergy sufferers, pollen can also cause little red bumps to appear all over our skin. There are many ways that you can come into contact with pollen, whether it’s pets, plants, or just being outdoors. If you are allergic and do come into contact with pollen those familiar little red, itchy bumps, also known as Contact Dermatitis will be around for a couple days. To help with symptoms try applying a cold compresses and take an antihistamine to help relieve the itching. Just remember, DON’T SCRATCH.
Mold is gross. Spring and Summer provide the perfect time for mold spores to reproduce – even more gross. With the damp and humid conditions that are synonymous with springtime, mold is thriving. Mold can cause a variety of health conditions if you are exposed to it but most of us are only familiar with the respiratory effects it can have on us. What you may not know is that seasonal mold can also cause those little red bumps, Contact Dermatitis to appear.
Spring and summer bring us green grass. This is much more aesthetically pleasing than dead grass, but the allergy sufferers among us may just want to see it burn. Grass pollen is one of the most common pollens and can cause anything from a small rash to severe welts and hives. Avoiding these terrible side effects of the allergy is easy (but not fun). It involves staying away from grass, if you’re like us and can’t stay away some simple solutions involve, sitting on a blanket, wearing shoes, long pants, and doing anything to help minimize your contact with grass. Dr. Dennis Porto from First Derm explains: “pollen, mold, and grass are more likely to things like a runny nose and itchy eyes rather than a rash. However, some people with seasonal allergies can get swollen eyes and a red nose from sniffling and sneezing. This is a sign that you should treat your seasonal allergies with things like oral anti-histamines.”
As plants begin to bloom the bees are close to follow. If you are not severely allergic there are some less serious side effects that a bee sting will cause. These include, hives, swelling, itching, redness and swelling around the site of the sting. There’s not a whole lot we can do to avoid bees, besides not going outside. Just remember if you do encounter a bee to remain calm and walk away. Dr. Porto describes that “bee stings for the non-allergic patient are almost never worrisome. However, if you start to get short of breath, notice that you lips or tongue are swelling, or feel generally unwell, a trip to the ER would be prudent to rule out possible anaphylaxis.”
5. Pet Dander
Spring and summer are when Fido sheds his winter coat, and unless you are lucky enough to have a hypoallergenic dog this can cause some adverse skin reactions. Depending on the severity of your allergy this can cause and hives, rashes, or those small red bumps. To help counter this problem brush your dog outside and vacuum often to reduce indoor dander. “As with any contact dermatitis,” explains Dr. Porto, “limiting exposure is the first line treatment. For very mild cases, over the counter products like Benadryl and Hydrocortisone can be effective. More involved contact dermatitis will require treatment by a dermatologist, or rarely, a trip to the ER.”