You know that time of the year. The time when your eyes won’t stop watering, your nose feels like a leaky faucet, and you can’t stop scratching your skin.
Yes, it’s allergy season.
But is the annoying itch a part of your seasonal allergy? Or could it be something else? Should you talk to your doctor about it? In this article, we’ll answer your questions about itchy skin during allergy season.
Most of us associate seasonal allergies with a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. However, there are some lesser-known symptoms as well – among them rashes and skin irritation.
So if you notice that your skin becomes itchy at a specific time of the year, it could be a seasonal allergy. But there are other allergies that can cause itchy skin:
Seasonal allergies are often referred to as “hay fever”, though they’re not necessarily caused by hay.
The cause of seasonal allergies is pollen. It’s a very fine powder that plants produce to fertilize other plants. If you’re allergic to pollen, your immune system thinks that pollen particles are dangerous invaders and starts producing defensive chemicals called histamines.
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Pollen allergies can lead to a variety of symptoms that include skin rashes, irritation and itchy skin. The itch can appear anywhere on your body, including the nose.
And since allergies often cause cold-like symptoms, you’re more likely to rub your nose a lot, which can lead to itchy nose skin.
Allergies can also cause different types of skin rashes. If you suffer from a pollen allergy, you may experience the following symptoms:
Not everyone with a seasonal allergy gets a rash. But if you do, it’s best to talk to your doctor. They can give you tests to find out what causes your allergy and suggest treatment options.
Not every itch is a pollen allergy. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, itchy skin can be caused by a variety of factors.
Dry skin can be itchy. Fortunately, you can keep your skin healthy with simple self-care tips:
If your skin doesn’t get better, consult a dermatologist.
Insect and mite bites can be very itchy. Some common culprits are bed bugs, head lice and so-called human itch mites that cause a disease named scabies. But even mosquito bites can itch quite a bit if you scratch them.
If you suspect that your itch is caused by bug bites, talk to your doctor. They’ll help you identify what bit you and offer treatment.
There are many diseases that cause itchy skin. They include:
To get relief, you need to get a diagnosis first. A dermatologist will help you find out which condition you have.
Itchy skin can be a sign of kidney, liver, or blood disease. People whose thyroid gland is overactive can also feel itchy.
This is why your dermatologist may refer you to other doctors for a diagnosis. Once doctors know what disease you have, they’ll offer treatment options.
Touching some plants, such as poison ivy, can lead to skin reactions. In fact, there are quite a few plants that can make you itch, including common garden crops like tomatoes and strawberries.
Make sure you wear gloves and long sleeves when gardening.
If you happen to touch a plant that gives you rashes, wash your hands immediately.
This itchy condition is also known as cercarial dermatitis. It’s caused by parasites that live in lakes and oceans. Just like pollen allergies, it’s more common in the summer months.
To prevent swimmer’s itch, make sure you dry yourself with a towel after getting out of the water.
Some meds can cause your skin to itch. They include:
If you suspect your itch is caused by a new medication you’re taking, talk to the doctor who prescribed it. They may suggest a different drug or offer treatments that will stop the itching
A damaged nerve can cause your skin to itch. This is called neuropathic itch.
There are many health conditions that can cause neuropathic itch. Some of them are:
This kind of itch doesn’t go away with usual treatments. Instead, you may need to wear protective clothing or use meds that numb your skin.
The best way to prevent allergy-induced itching is to stay indoors and avoid contact with allergens. However, this isn’t realistic. No matter how hard you try, you’re still likely to come into contact with pollen and get that annoying itch.
However, you’re not doomed! Seasonal allergies can give you itchy skin, but there are many ways to find relief.
These are medications that relieve allergy symptoms. As the name suggests, they reduce or block histamines (the defensive chemicals that your body makes).
Antihistamines don’t cure the allergy itself, but they still give you a break from symptoms.
They come in a variety of forms: liquids, tablets, creams, nasal sprays, and so on. Some are available without a prescription. Note that antihistamines can cause dehydration, so it’s important to drink plenty of water.
While the name sounds scary, topical steroids are just creams that calm itchy and inflamed skin. The most well-known topical steroid is called hydrocortisone cream.
While some hydrocortisone creams are available without a prescription, it’s better to ask your healthcare provider for advice before using them. Your doctor can help you choose the right product and explain how to use it correctly.
It’s important to moisturize itchy skin. However, you should opt for products that don’t contain any fragrances or other additives that could potentially irritate your skin even further.
You can also use natural treatments to reduce itching. Here are some options to try:
Remember that natural remedies aren’t a replacement for medicines prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes they can even make your condition worse.
Sometimes cold compresses and over-the-counter meds are all you need to stop that itch. But you’ll need to see your healthcare provider if:
Treatment depends on the cause of the itch. Sometimes it’s possible to cure the underlying disease. Some itch-causing health conditions (including allergies) can’t be cured, but you can still manage the symptoms and enjoy a full life by following your doctor’s advice and taking meds exactly as prescribed.
Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen, a powder produced by plants. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including rashes and itchy skin.
However, there are other reasons why your skin may itch in the spring and summer: bug bites, swimmer’s itch, or touching certain plants. In addition to this, itching can be caused by medications or underlying diseases. Or maybe your skin is just too dry.
There are many treatments for itchy skin that range from simple cold compresses to prescription medications. The choice of treatment depends on what caused the itch, so it’s important to see a doctor if your itch is very severe or doesn’t go away on its own.