Seasonal weather changes do affect your allergies, and you may experience more symptoms in the spring and fall. This is how each season, and climate change, may be impacting your health and allergies.

Psoriasis can cause symptoms at any time of year, but different seasons may affect the condition in different ways.

You might notice that your psoriasis symptoms get worse or better at certain times of the year and during different types of weather. Some of your psoriasis flare-ups may even be more common in specific months.

Read on to learn how you can limit psoriasis symptoms in the different seasons, as well as how climate change is also affecting seasonal allergies and psoriasis symptoms.

You may experience more psoriasis flare-ups with seasonal allergies in the warmer months during spring and summer.

The answer as to why is quite straightforward: Tree and grass pollen are the most common causes of seasonal allergies, so when those are growing, you may be more exposed to these health effects.

Thunderstorms and rains bring in more mold spores, which are another common cause of allergy symptoms.

With people more likely to be outdoors during these warmer months, that just compounds the effects that seasonal weather changes bring for your health.

Seasonal allergies tend to be worse during the spring and fall than at other times of the year. In spring, tree pollen levels are particularly high.

If you have spring allergies, they may cause a variety of symptoms. In some cases, these may include skin symptoms, such as an itchy rash or hives.

Rubbing or scratching your skin can cause a flare in your psoriasis symptoms.

To help limit your exposure to what ignites spring allergies, try these tips:

  • Stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
  • Keep your windows closed at home, at work, and in your car.
  • Take a shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside.
  • Ask someone else to complete yard work or wear a mask when completing outdoor tasks, such as pulling weeds or mowing the lawn.
  • Invest in an air conditioner, air heater, and vacuum cleaner that has high-efficiency filters.

You can also reduce allergy symptoms by taking over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, as recommended by your healthcare team.

In some cases, your healthcare team might recommend a type of immunotherapy for seasonal allergies called allergy shots. Antihistamines can reduce itching of your psoriasis.

You may experience different kinds of allergy symptoms and psoriasis flare-ups in the summer months, particularly when you’re outside more often and exposed to sunlight and fully bloomed flowers and plant life.

Sunburn

In many people with psoriasis, exposure to UV radiation can help reduce symptoms of the condition.

That might be why some people notice improvements in their symptoms in the summer when their skin gets more exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

If you choose to treat your psoriasis with natural sunlight, you should still wear sunscreen and stay outside for only 10 minutes at a time to reduce the risk of sun damage.

As long as your skin can tolerate the exposure, you can slowly increase your sun exposure by 30 seconds to 1 minute each day.

However, too much UV radiation exposure can cause sunburn. In turn, this may trigger a flare in psoriasis symptoms.

To reduce your risk of sunburn, here are some recommendations:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun during the hottest times of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)

To learn more about the potential benefits and risks of sun exposure, talk with your healthcare team. They can help you learn how much time you should spend in the sun.

Swimming effects: Chlorine and saltwater exposure

The chlorine in pools and hot tubs may irritate and dry out your skin, potentially worsening psoriasis symptoms. For example, it may leave your skin feeling drier and itchier.

On the other hand, some people with psoriasis find that going for a swim or having a soak helps to soften and clear psoriasis plaques.

If exposure to chlorine seems to make your symptoms worse, consider limiting the amount of time you spend in pools and hot tubs. It may help to take a shower right after you get out of a pool or hot tub. Chlorine-removing soaps and shampoos are available to help cleanse your skin.

However, salt water may have the opposite effect and be a benefit for people with psoriasis.

The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) notes that swimming in salt water can help remove dead skin and improve the appearance of psoriasis. Naturally occurring salt water is even better, making the ocean a good option to possibly help with psoriasis symptoms.

Moisturizing your skin after swimming, soaking, or showering is also important.

Bugs and poisonous plants

Any injury to your skin, including bug bites or stings, may cause a psoriasis flare. This is known as Koebner phenomenon, and it can also happen because of sunburn.

To help prevent bug bites and stings, follow these tips:

  • Limit the time you spend outside at dusk and dawn when bugs tend to be most active.
  • Avoid outdoor garbage cans and other areas where wasps congregate.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and shoes in buggy areas.
  • Apply insect repellent.
  • Burn citronella candles.

Oils from certain plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy, can also cause skin irritation, which may trigger psoriasis symptoms.

If you’re walking in areas where poisonous plants might be growing, try to stay on well-cleared pathways. Wearing long pants and socks can also help protect your skin from poisonous plants, as well as bugs.

People tend to get less sunlight exposure during the fall and winter months, compared with the spring and summer. The cooler and cold temperatures and dry air also impact your allergies and psoriasis symptoms differently than those warmer times of the year.

Cold temperatures and dry air

Cold, dry air can irritate and dry out your skin. This might aggravate your psoriasis symptoms.

To help keep your skin hydrated, you may need to apply moisturizer more often during the winter months. Consider using a thick, fragrance-free cream or ointment to help hydrate your skin and lock moisture in.

It may also help to:

  • Use a moisturizing cleanser, rather than regular soap.
  • Take short, lukewarm showers rather than long, hot showers.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home or workplace.

When you go outside, dress in warm layers to protect your skin from cold air. You may find that cotton clothing is less itchy and irritating than wool or synthetic fabrics, such as polyester.

Even if you spend a lot of time outside in cool seasons, clothing likely covers most of your skin.

Reduced sun exposure

As a result, your skin will get less exposure to UV rays. This may raise your risk of psoriasis flares because UV radiation helps to limit symptoms in many people with this condition.

To help manage your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe phototherapy. This is also known as light therapy. In this treatment approach, your skin is exposed to UV rays using a sun lamp or other light device.

Infections and illness

Many viral infections are more common during the fall and winter months, which are often known collectively as “flu season.”

Infections affect your immune system and may make your psoriasis worse.

To help lower your risk of infection:

  • Get your recommended vaccinations, including the flu shot.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often, including before you prepare or eat food and after you use the bathroom, touch animals, touch human or animal waste, or spend time with someone who’s sick.
  • Follow an overall healthful lifestyle, by exercising regularly, eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep, and taking steps to limit stress.

You may consider consulting your doctor to learn which vaccines you should get and when you should receive them.

If you’re taking biologic medications to treat psoriasis, your doctor might recommend some adjustments to your medication regimen or vaccine schedule.

Make sure to also let your healthcare team know if you develop any signs or symptoms of an infection. They can help you determine the cause of the infection and recommend treatment.

Short answer, if this is all “too long didn’t read” (TLDR): Yes, climate change is transforming our world and affecting our health — including a higher likelihood of seasonal allergies.

While it’s still an emerging area of research, there is evidence that climate change is leading to increased allergy symptoms. In particular, the fluctuating extremes of cold and hot temperatures and seasonal changes are helping to create these health impacts on seasonal allergies, asthma, and respiratory issues.

This 2021 research points to a handful of past studies finding that long-term temperature changes due to climate change are affecting pollen loads and how long allergy seasons last, resulting in more people experiencing seasonal allergies due to these weather shifts.

In a 25-year retrospective study based in the Netherlands, researchers analyzed family health data and general practitioner information from 1995–2019. They noted that climate change effects are leading to more hay fever and respiratory issues.

That doesn’t even take into account the nuance that researchers also pointed out, that higher rates of heat strokes, renal function problems, cardiovascular disease, and increased UV exposure present a higher skin cancer risk.

More research is needed to explore this issue and finetune specific health effects that are happening because of climate change.

As the seasons change, you may notice that your psoriasis symptoms change as well.

For example, maybe your symptoms improve during warmer times of the year when you get more sunlight exposure. Maybe your symptoms get worse in the fall or winter, as the temperatures drop, the air gets drier, and you spend less time outdoors.

Making small adjustments to your daily habits and treatment plan may help you manage seasonal changes in your condition. Consult your healthcare team if you develop new or worsened symptoms so they can help you create a management plan.