Charlotte, NC – As if a runny nose and red eyes weren’t enough to ruin your warm weather look, summer allergies can bestow even more than you’ve bargained for this year. In fact, some unusual symptoms can leave you looking like you lost a round in a boxing ring.
“Allergy sufferers may wrongly think that once spring is over, they won’t have allergy symptoms,” said allergist Dr. Steven McEldowney, Allergy and Asthma Care of Blakeney. “Unfortunately, that’s not true. Summer often brings a whole new set of symptoms from allergens such as ragweed, grass pollens and mold spores. In addition to sneezing and watery eyes, allergies sometimes cause black eyes, lines across the nose and other cosmetic symptoms.”
Even if you’ve never before had allergies, they can suddenly strike at any age and time of year. You might want to consider visiting your board-certified allergist if these undesirable signs accompany your sniffle and sneeze.
- Allergic Shiner: Dark circles under the eyes which are due to swelling and discoloration from congestion of small blood vessels beneath the skin in the delicate eye area.
- Allergic (adenoidal) Face: Nasal allergies may promote swelling of the adenoids (lymph tissue that lines the back of the throat and extends behind the nose). This results in a tired and droopy appearance in your face.
- Nasal Crease: This is a line which can appear across the bridge of the nose usually the result of rubbing the nose upward to relieve nasal congestion and itching.
- Mouth Breathing: Cases of hay fever with severe nasal congestion can result in chronic mouth breathing, associated with the development of a high, arched palate, an elevated upper lip, and an overbite. Teens with allergic rhinitis might need braces to correct dental issues.
According to the ACAAI, pollen, mold and insect stings are common allergy culprits during the summer months. In addition, fresh produce such as celery, apples and melons, can also cause allergy symptoms. This is known as food pollen syndrome, cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables and some tree nuts.
Allergy symptoms can often be mistaken for a cold. However, there are ways to tell the difference between a summer cold and an allergy.
“If your symptoms last for more than two weeks, it’s probably an allergy,” said Dr. McEldowney. “Colds fade while allergies persist. And symptoms such as itchy eyes, nose and throat, along with sneezing, usually means an allergy. “
Before turning to over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays for relief, allergy sufferers should speak with an allergist to ensure medication is right for them and enough to combat symptoms.