Seasonal Allergies and Itching

Seasonal allergies and itching due to skin irritation can be uncomfortable and downright annoying. Although Spring is a special time of year for most people, it creates havoc for others. Spring, a time of new plant growth and beautiful blossoms, is dreaded by many allergy sufferers and can be, in their eyes, a most unpleasant time of year.

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Allergies or allergic diseases are a set of conditions caused by the immune system’s hypersensitivity to allergens, food or chemicals present in the surrounding environment. Allergies appear in different forms including allergic asthma, hay fever, anaphylaxis, atopic dermatitis, and food allergies. Symptoms include but are not limited to itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, itchy rash, swelling, runny nose, and shortness of breath.

Seasonal allergies affect people primarily during one season. The spring season is commonly the time of year when pollen and other allergens are heavily produced. Wind and rain carry these allergens from one location to another.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

Symptoms are caused by a reaction of the immune system to an allergen such as pollen, a food or a chemical. An allergy occurs when immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) produced by the immune system bind or attach to receptors present in basophils or mast cells. The receptor then activates the release of chemicals that cause inflammation in tissue such as in the lung, the nasal cavity, the throat, the sinus cavity, and the skin.

Symptoms of Seasonal Skin Allergies

Plant pollen, ragweed pollen or mold spores, are carried through the air by wind and rain and can result in skin allergies. Plant pollens contain protein which the body's immune system reacts to. The body releases histamine which dilates blood vessels, causes inflammation, rashes — such as hives or eczema — and itchy skin.

Remedies for Itchy Skin Due to Seasonal Allergies

Over the counter and prescription medicines can help relieve symptoms from rashes and itchy skin. Natural remedies are also useful in supplementing medication already prescribed by a medical professional. A list of safe and effective remedies for treating skin allergies include:

  • Taking all medications prescribed by your physician as directed. Some of these medications may be oral — antihistamines — or topical — hydrocortisone cream and corticosteroids.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible to avoid allergens outdoors. If you need to go outside, take a antihistamine beforehand to stave off any possible reactions that may occur.
  • Take warm baths with soap or bubble bath using colloidal oatmeal.
  • Rub aloe vera on your skin to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Lightly dab calamine lotion on rashes or irritated areas of the skin to stop itching.
  • Sleep with a humidifier to keep your skin, sinus passages, and nasal cavities moist.
  • Use an over the counter moisturizer or a natural moisturizer, such as olive oil, to keep your skin from drying out.
  • Slather your skin with petroleum jelly to keep moisture locked within the skin. This will prevent the skin from becoming dry.
  • Use a small amount of apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball or a tissue and gently apply it to your skin to relieve itching.
  • Use cool compresses or take a cool bath with baking soda to reduce swelling and irritation of the skin.