As if a runny nose and red eyes weren't enough to ruin your warm weather look, summer allergies can gift you with 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.
"Summer allergies can cause severe symptoms for some sufferers, and can be just as bad as the spring and fall seasons," said allergist Michael Foggs, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "Symptoms aren't always limited to the hallmark sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Black eyes, lines across the nose and other cosmetic symptoms can occur."
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.
- 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 allergic rhinitis in which severe nasal congestion occurs 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. But 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.
"Summer allergy symptoms can easily be mistaken for colds, food intolerances or other ailments," said Dr. Foggs. "If your symptoms are persistent and lasting for more than two weeks you should see your allergist for proper testing, diagnosis and treatment. Finding and treating the source of your suffering can also clear up other unwanted symptoms." For more information about seasonal allergies, and to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.