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Pollen allergies are an unfortunate side effect for many people during the summer months. Pollen.com states that pollen allergies can “affect the sinus and respiratory tract of those with this allergy. Symptoms can include watery eyes, runny nose, rhinitis, sore throat, coughing, increased mucous, headaches, and asthma.” Different pollen-producing plants cause reactions in different people, but the unpleasantness of the experience is universal among allergy sufferers. An allergy test can tell you what triggers your allergies.
If you have a pollen allergy, you already know that inhaling pollen makes you uncomfortable, but can pollen on the surface of a lake cause a reaction? The short answer is that it’s less likely to cause a problem than pollen in the air. Pollen is an airborne allergen, and it’s harder for the pollen to get into your nose and eyes if it’s stuck to the water’s surface. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases pollen allergy fact sheet explains that the pollen count is usually lowest during chilly, wet periods. That said, immersion in the water may result in pollen contact with your face, and it’s possible that this contact could provoke an allergic reaction.
Just because you aren’t as likely to react to the pollen that settles on your favorite swimming hole doesn’t mean that the lake can’t cause other allergic reactions. According to Everyday Health, “swimmer’s itch,” algae, and urticaria can all potentially be problematic.
Swimmer’s itch is “an outbreak after swimming in water containing various strains of schistosomes.” These parasites can burrow under your skin, creating a rash and causing itching. Some people are more susceptible than others. Avoiding shallow water where these parasites congregate and bathing after swimming can help prevent the condition, and antihistamines and cortisone can help with already present issues.
Blue-green algae blooms can also irritate people’s skin. Finally, you might get hives from the change in temperature after swimming in a cold lake. Some people can have dangerous reactions to suddenly being immersed in cold water beyond hives, including “low blood pressure and even loss of consciousness.”
If you’re looking for help with your allergies, Houston Sinus & Allergy can help. As an ENT doctor, Dr. Nguyen has specialized in allergy treatment, and utilizes the latest equipment and medicine in order to assess and treat patients. His comprehensive approach involves treating the cause of the allergies, in addition to the symptoms, and believes in natural and healthy solutions wherever possible.