A woman breathing fire

My Allergies, Acne, and Atopic Dermatitis Rant

I don’t know how it has been for all of you readers, but this spring and summer have been the worst for seasonal allergies. Unfortunately for me, and I imagine some of you, my allergies to pollen, grasses, and other environmental things like dust worsen my atopic dermatitis flares, both in intensity and frequency.

How do I prepare for allergy season?

I usually expect allergies over the spring and summer seasons. In anticipation, I buy a variety of antihistamine medications before the season starts. I usually only experience a few weeks of symptoms before the meds start working.

What have I learned over the years?

The past few years have been quite different though, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that for myself, standard drug store available medications won’t cut it anymore. I’ve also learned that even in Canada, and even with very generous health insurance, doctor-prescribed allergy medication is ridiculously expensive. It would be worthwhile if I found a medication, that while expensive, worked to reduce or eliminate my allergy symptoms. However, that was not the case. Ten dollars per pill just for it not to work? Yeah, no thanks.

Last year I got an air purifier in an attempt to alleviate some of the allergens and smoke my city was inundated with. While the air purifier is great (and currently running at full steam as I write this) it still isn’t enough just by itself.

Will my allergies only get worse?

I don’t suspect they will get better, either – in fact, I suspect the opposite. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America calls attention to the very notion in the opening of its 2024 Allergy Capitals report. The report states quite explicitly that climate change is the cause of the increased pollen count, and goes on to explain the cascade of impacts on the environment and people who live with allergies. They only expect this to worsen on an increasing scale.1

Sometimes it seems like the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the impact of our self-induced climate crisis is going to be the door that hits us on the way out. Great. So now I have to include having the sniffles, an itchy throat, and eczema flare-ups in my post-apocalyptic nightmares. All jokes aside, it is hard to feel optimistic when you feel like you have had a cold for 2 solid months already and your skin also hates you because of it.

Why have I been wearing a mask?

It also sucks to have to constantly reassure the people around you that you are not sick, the outside just hates you. I’ve been wearing a mask a lot again when in public so as not to make others uneasy. Wearing a mask wreaks havoc on both my cystic acne (which really only appears on my chin) and also causes atopic flares around my mouth and nostrils! There really is no winning.

What cycle is my eczema in?

Cascade reactions also seem to happen when it comes to my atopic dermatitis. Allergies trigger my eczema, which triggers my cystic acne, which triggers my annoyance! Sometimes it feels like a bit of an endless cycle of physical health issues, doctors, and medications. It can be so exhausting, but what else can I do but keep plugging along, doing my best to put out each little fire of symptoms as I go?

Okay! Rant over!

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