How to prevent skin allergies when pollen content is high?
Eczema Flares and Pollen content in the air
Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that cannot be cured and has to be managed. The severity of Eczema varies over time and worsens due to some reasons which are called triggers. There are different types of triggers and everybody is not affected in the same way by a trigger. When a person suffers from a breakout of Eczema i.e. the severity of Eczema worsens, she is said to be having a flareup.
There’s a strong association between allergies and Eczema especially with triggers un the air. Common indoor triggers in the air include dust mites, pet dander, etc. Recent studies have also revealed a relationship between the development of eczema flares and Pollen content of the air. Pollen content and associated allergies are often seasonal and are most acute during the transition of spring to summer.
Environmental allergens like pollen not only produce immediate allergic reactions but also interrupt the permeability barrier of the skin. The lipids released from pollen exhibit chemical and functional similarities to leukotrienes and prostaglandins (pollen-associated lipid mediators). They induce an immune response which exacerbates eczema symptoms causing flares.
Pollen allergens enter the skin through hair follicles and generally can stay there up to 1 week. Hence, allergens penetrating the hair follicles may remain active for an extended period of time causing skin irritations and flares.
Handling Eczema in High pollen content
- As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. To prevent flares caused by pollen.
It is very important to know pollen content at your location or the place where you are planning to travel/visit so that necessary precautions can be taken.
- Tools such as EczemaLess which leverage AI can guide you with the pollen content of at your location and can give you a correlation between your flares and triggers.
- Studies have found that pollen triggers flares and exacerbates the symptoms only on the skin which gets directly exposed to it. So covering your body/skin completely while going out will prevent the direct contact of pollen to skin thereby avoiding the trigger and subsequent flares to a large extent.
- Avoid morning walks or being outdoor in the morning during spring as the pollen contents are high in the morning. Similarly, avoid freshly cut grass to prevent direct exposure to pollen in spring.
- Take a shower immediately after being outdoors for a while so that you can rinse off the allergens before they exacerbate any allergic reactions giving rise to immune response.
- If you the local pollen content is high keep your doors and windows shut to avoid this airborne allergen from entering your house. Keep your outdoor equipment and tools outside the house if not then at least outside your bedrooms so that you are not bringing pollen along with you in your resting place.
- Use Anti-allergy filters in your air conditioner to limit the exposure to pollens indoors. Using Air condition also help to keep the temperature in check thereby reducing the chance of sweat and ultimately itching.
- Do not forget to follow your daily care routine of applying moisturizers, wet wraps, showers, etc along with the extra care measures to manage your eczema effectively during the pollen season
Study Referred: Birch pollen influence the severity of atopic eczema Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015; 8: 539–548.