Allergic to Heat? Soothe Your Symptoms With These Tips
By Imani Dada
A heat allergy can rival a sunburn for ruining your skin’s beauty in summer. For years I’ve been allergic to heat — a condition referred to as a heat allergy, or more formerly, as cholinergic urticaria. I’ve endured the symptoms such as hives, rashes and scars. Finally, I decided enough was enough.
A heat allergy is basically an over-reaction to an increase in body temperature that occurs whether you’re at rest or doing an activity such as jogging or playing tennis, or if you’re feeling stressed. A whole series of reactions takes place in your body, including a rise in histamine, which is responsible for all that itching, hives and discomfort.
The good news is you don’t have to just suffer with a heat allergy over the next few months. As I discovered, prevention plays a strong role in finding relief and helps you spend less money on remedies, even if they are the cheaper ones I’ve uncovered for you.
1. Watch Your Diet
If you suffer from heat allergy certain foods such as celery, cheese and wheat increase the likelihood that you’ll be itching and getting hives if you eat them before exercise, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. If possible, try to limit or eliminate these foods from your diet during the summer months.
2. Mind Your Meds
Taking medications such as aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen before exercise is another risk factor for an allergic reaction to heat. Whenever possible, avoid taking these meds right before exercising.
3. Try Some Ginger
If you do need some form of pain relief before exercise, try ginger. Not only is this herb packed with potent anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols and reduces your dependence on painkillers, it is a natural antihistamine. The cheapest option is to buy fresh ginger in bulk and make a tea with it or, if you can stand it, chew on it. Otherwise, you can get a bottle of 100, 500-mg ginger root supplements from Vitamin World for $5.49, a 21-percent discount.
4. Take Cool Showers or Baths
Opt for cool showers in summer to keep your body temperature as low as possible and suppress an allergic reaction, including a pesky rash under your breast. Plus, this strategy will also help you save money on your water heating bills!
5. Wipe Off Regularly
Avoid allowing sweat to build up on your skin as you might be one of those unlucky people with cholinergic urticaria who also have an allergy to their own sweat. Use cool water and a sponge or cloth instead of spending money on wipes, which contain chemicals that may irritate your skin even more.
6. Medicate Your Moisturizer
To prevent and relieve itching, hives and rashes add a cheap hydrocortisone or caladryl lotion to your usual moisturizer. It turns your everyday moisturizer into a hive and rash-fighting formula, while getting more mileage out of the hydrocortisone or caladryl cream.
Amazon and Nextag are great online sources to find these medicated skin care products at bargain prices, such as a 6-oz bottle of Caladryl Clear (which dries clear!) for just over $5. Or, if you’re shopping for a new lotion any time soon, grab a few bottles of Itch-X moisturizing lotion, which already combines a moisturizer with hydrocortisone for just $3.19 on Amazon.
7. Take an Antihistamine
These histamine-blocking meds are some of the best remedies for a heat allergy; unfortunately, they can also be quite pricey. First, make sure you get advice from your doctor or a pharmacist about taking antihistamines. If you’re given the green light to take them, check out sites such as Amazon, which I find has prices on antihistamines that rival any pharmacy every day of the week. For instance, the site has a 54% or more discount on Kirkland Non-Drowsy AllerClear Lortadine Tablets, (10 mg) Antihistamine,depending on which seller you choose. You can get 300 tablets — much more than a summer’s supply — for just $11.17.
8. Freeze Your Sheets
It’s not unusual for those hot summer nights to trigger your heat allergy and make your skin itchy (that’s where some of those mysterious scars you may notice the following morning come from). I find that storing my sheets in the freezer during the day really helps to keep me cool and reduce itching, especially as I like to turn off or turn down my A/C at night to save on energy costs.
* All prices correct at time of publication.
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