Summer means splashing in the pool, late nights on the porch and the sweetness of a juicy watermelon. But for many North Americans, summer also signifies the onset of a new allergy season with offenders that are a little off the beaten path of typical allergens.
Sweets that Sting
The juiciness of fruits, such as oranges, berries, peaches and watermelons, is virtually synonymous with summer. However, for those with oral allergy syndrome, these sweet foods can trigger itchy, burning sensations on the lips as well as in the mouth and throat. The protein structure of these fruits is so similar to common allergens, including pollen and ragweed, that the body recognizes these harmless treats as foreign invaders. Cooking the fruits may lessen the threat of anaphylaxis, but it is not always 100 percent effective.
Lightning Shows and Asthma Attacks
The grandeur of a thunderstorm is not so grand for those suffering from asthma. The rapidly moving air breaks apart and disperses pollen into such small particles that asthmatics are far more likely to suffer from an attack right after a storm.
Sharing Your Steak
It’s not only the bears that want to share your cookout menu; the Lone Star ticks refuses to be left out of the party. Several hours post-bite and after a good meal, you may find yourself covered in itchy hives or even experiencing all out anaphylactic shock. This little parasite triggers an IgE response to a particular sugar that is found in beef, pork and lamb.
Running from the Sun
While most people are eager to acquire sun kissed skin, those who have solar uticaria, or solar hives, must run for cover. Warm or cold water can also have the same effect. Many commercial sunscreens that contain PABA may also cause adverse skin reactions.
Latching to Laundry
There’s nothing like the smell of lined-dried clothing and linens except when that smell sends you into fits of sneezing and itching. As laundry hangs on the line, pollen and other airborne allergens attach to the fibers, making their way into your home and against your skin.
The itch that just won’t quit generally originates from one of two sources, mosquito bites or poison ivy. Keep your eyes open and wear protective clothing when hiking the trails or watching the sun go down on your summer fun.