Eczema and hay fever connection

Eczema and hay fever

As the summer days roll in and holiday anticipation builds, many of us bask in the joy and excitement that the season brings. However, for eczema sufferers, the summer period might present a different narrative, as seasonal elements such as heat, dry air, and pollen make their skin especially itchy and uncomfortable.

People with eczema are more prone to hay fever and in this piece we look into this connection as well as offer strategies for staving off an outbreak of eczema in the hay fever season.

Why does eczema often get worse in the hay fever season?

Hay fever and eczema are interconnected due to their shared root cause – an immune system hyper-response to external triggers. Hay fever primarily develops due to pollen, an allergen, which results in an inflammatory response.

For eczema sufferers, their skin barrier is often compromised, making it easier for allergens to penetrate the skin and activate the immune response. This triggers inflammation, leading to worsening of eczema symptoms.

Recent studies also point towards shared genetic risk factors for both conditions, adding another layer of complexity to their relationship.

Protecting eczema-prone skin

Eczema-prone skin requires special care, especially during seasons when allergens are prevalent. Applying a moisturiser frequently, can help maintain the skin’s protective barrier and prevent it from drying out. Also, choose skin care products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, to avoid further irritation. If you are not sure, Dr Williams can help advise on the most suitable skincare products for your condition.

If you’re heading outdoors, cover up exposed skin and consider wearing a sun hat to protect your face. While sunscreen is necessary, ensure it is suitable for sensitive skin.

Plan ahead

To minimise hay fever and eczema flare-ups, it’s wise to plan your outdoor activities in advance. Monitor pollen forecasts and try to stay indoors when the pollen count is high.

Schedule your outings during early mornings or late evenings when pollen levels tend to be lower. Remember, it’s not just about avoiding pollen but also about ensuring you have your necessary medications as well as topical creams at hand.

Keep pollen out of the home

While it’s great to let fresh air into your home, open windows also provide an easy entry for pollen. Try to limit the amount of pollen that gets into your home by keeping windows closed during peak pollen hours. Regularly cleaning your home, changing your clothes after being outdoors, and washing your pets can also limit the amount of pollen indoors.

Allergy testing and eczema

It is important to recognise that eczema is strongly associated with genetic defects in the skin barrier, and although allergies are more common in patients with eczema, allergy is not the only factor driving eczema. For patients who suspect that they may have allergies driving their eczema Dr Williams will take a clinically focussed allergy history. If needed she can organise allergy testing and advise if a referral to an allergist is necessary.

Treating eczema

Since many patients find that eczema is more difficult to control in the hay fever season, it is particularly important to have the right treatment for it. Emollients are important for all patients with eczema and Dr Williams can provide a tailored treatment plan including the right strength of topical cortico-steroids and sometimes calcineurin inhibitors. Schedule an appointment now by calling 01483 555907.