Managing Allergy Headaches And Triggers
The key to managing your allergies and reducing headaches is limiting exposure to allergens and triggers.
- Stay indoors and keep the windows shut when pollen counts are high.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses outdoors to keep pollen from getting in your eyes.
- Use the air conditioning in your home and in your car. Make sure to change out the air filters regularly and keep AC units clean.
- Use mite-proof covers in your bedroom for pillows, comforters, and mattresses to reduce exposure to dust mites.
- Keep your homes humidity at 30-50% to reduce exposure to mold. Clean your kitchen, bathrooms, and basement regularly and use a dehumidifier in damp, humid places.
- Wash floors with a damp mop or rag to avoid dry-sweeping or dusting.
- If you are allergic to a pet, keep them outside of your home. If a pet must be kept indoors, keep it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to allergens while you sleep.
- Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum to reduce dander in the home.
Many sinus headache triggers are airborne and difficult to avoid. Discuss your options with your allergist to decide which treatment options are best for you.
Can Allergy Treatment Prevent Sinus Headaches
Allergies are a persistent cause of headaches. Allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust cause allergic reactions that lead to the release of histamines by the immune system. The resulting excess mucus may then clog the airways and lead to infections. As the sinuses become inflamed, one side effect is pain across the forehead, cheeks and nose.
If your sinusitis keeps on recurring due to allergic reactions, its important to treat the root cause of the issue. Reducing the impact of an allergy will stop the symptoms that cause ongoing sinus problems. However, this process can be tricky when you dont know the exact allergen at fault, and are not sure how to treat the issue. Working with an allergist to find the cause of the sinus headache will ensure you target the precise trigger.
Indoor Pollutants: Can The Furnace Cause Allergies
Your indoor air can have pollutants that come into your home from outside, but also emitted from items inside your home from furniture to flooring and paint to cleaning products. Your heating system also cycles air from outside that can contribute to pollutants. Pollutants can make you sick and give you headaches.
You can have your HVAC system checked twice a year to make sure it is in working order to help it control indoor pollutants. You can also make sure you are using the right filters to capture airborne particles that can make you sick, and change them monthly in the winter when the system is running more often. Central heating allergy symptoms include coughing, sore throat, itchy eyes, headaches and more.
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When Do People Usually Get Hay Fever
You can have hay fever any time of the year. Seasonal allergies occur in the spring, summer and early fall when trees and weeds bloom and pollen counts are higher. Perennial allergies can happen year-round. They result from irritants that are always around, such as pet dander, cockroaches and dust mites.
How Do Allergies Cause Migraine Headaches
If you get migraines, you have a sensitive nervous system. Your body tends to react very quickly, or overreact, to changes in your environment that it views as threats.
If youâre prone to migraine headaches, your symptoms may be more severe during allergy season. Some people can also have ânonallergicâ triggers like perfume, the smell of gasoline, cigarette smoke, and weather changes.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Hay Fever
Although hay fever doesnt cause any serious health problems, you should see your provider to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your provider can help you identify the allergens that are causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hay fever symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love, but effective treatments are available. Millions of adults and children manage hay fever with medications and lifestyle changes. Talk to your provider about steps you can take to relieve symptoms, breathe easier and feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2020.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis . Accessed 9/1/2021.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Rhinitis Overview. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- Wheatley LM, Togias A. Allergic Rhinitis. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jan 29 372:456-463. Accessed 9/1/2021.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Avoiding exposure to pets is the best remedy for pet allergy. For many people that doesn’t sound like a good option, because family members are often very attached to their pets. Talk to your doctor about whether reducing exposure to your pet, rather than finding a new home for your pet, may be sufficient for managing your pet allergy.
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Otc Medications For Allergies And Migraine Come With Potential Risks
If the symptoms of allergies and migraine are fairly mild, they could both be treated with just over-the-counter medications, says Hamilton. I would caution people who are self-treating who think their headaches are from allergies. They may take a lot of allergy medication, and certain ones like Sudafed can potentially cause a worsening headache if you take it frequently, she says.
Pain relivers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDS, decongestants, and combination medicines that contain caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen or butalbital can all contribute to medication overuse headache , according to the American Migraine Foundation.
MOH is defined as a headache occurring on 15 or more days per month in a person with a preexisting primary headache and developing as a consequence of regular overuse of acute or symptomatic headache medication, according to the International Headache Society.
Your Eyes Are Red & Itchy
Watery eyes are a common symptom of pet allergies, as are red, dry, itchy eyes. A lot of people think this is just a result of general allergies from being outside and being exposed to pollen, but that itchy feeling in your eyes can also happen after youre around your cat, especially if you pet them or hold them and then touch your eyes.
âWe see a lot of people getting a stuffy nose or red, itchy, watery eyes. And for some people, that can happen from a distance, so if even theres just a cat in the room, these symptoms can still happen,â says Price. In particular, itâs the cat dander that sets this particular type of allergic reaction off. These are â and brace yourself, because this can sound a little gross â âmicroscopic pieces of dry cat skin that become airborne, landing on bedding, curtains, carpeting, and other surfaces, including humans skin and clothing,â per The Spruce Pets. So, not an easy one to avoid.
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Which Animals Pose The Biggest Problems
Cats are kept as pets in 27 percent of homes in the United States and dogs are found in 32 percent. However, roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs. Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear. 1
Animals with fur may be more likely to carry allergens from other sources, like dust, but the fur itself is generally not a trigger. For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat. 1
Will My Sinus Headache Go Away If My Allergies Are Treated
Dr. Chacko Featured on the Cover ofAtlanta’s Top Doctor Magazine
Sinus headaches are an unpleasant source of pain for a huge number of Atlanta residents. Sinusitis, caused by swelling of the sinuses, results in as many as 4.1 million annual visits to doctors offices around the country. A large number of these people will inevitably suffer the side effects of a headache that are both intense and long-lasting. But is it possible to prevent sinus headaches by treating allergies?
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Reasons Why You Get Headaches When The Heater Is On
Have you ever asked yourself Why do I get headaches when the heater is on? Have you noticed you tend to get more headaches in the winter months? Is it possible your headaches seem to be triggered when you turn your heater on? Can central heating make you cough or cause a sore throat? Here we explain the connection between your HVAC system and headaches, with four reasons why you could be getting headaches and other symptoms like cough and sore throats when your heater is on.
How Do You Control Pet Allergens
For homes with sensitive individuals, the best way to protect indoor air quality is to remove the animal from the home. However, pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because the allergens remain in house dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take weeks or even months to improve. 1
If the pet stays in the home, keep it out of the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or allergies. Do not allow the pet on furniture, especially upholstery, and keep the pet away from carpets. Clean the home often and do not allow dust to accumulate.
Institute of Medicine, Division of Health Promotion, Indoor Air and Disease Prevention. Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2000. Kanchongkittiphon W, et al. Indoor Environmental Exposures of Asthma: An Update to the 2000 Review by the Institute of Medicine. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2015 123: 6-20.
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Chronic Daily Headache And Allergic Rhinitis: Epidemiology And Burden
Chronic daily headache comprises a group of primary and secondary headache disorders in which headache is present on more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months . Approximately, 3 to 5 % of the US population suffers from chronic daily headaches, and the most frequent of which is chronic migraine . This debilitating disorder affects around 2 % of the general population and is the leading cause of outpatient and emergency department visits . According to the most recent health surveillance studies by the US National Center for Health Statistics, migraine affects roughly one in seven Americans annually, which is comparable to statistics from the previous 8 years . Surprisingly, a recent US study found that the proper diagnosis of chronic migraine is often elusive: only 20 % of patients who fulfill the criteria are diagnosed with the disorder . Several studies have provided evidence that migraine is one of the diseases that mimic allergic rhinitis .
People With Migraine Are More Likely To Have Allergies
Migraine and allergies are both very common conditions, and its not at all unusual for people to have both, according to Katherine Hamilton, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurology and a headache specialist at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.
Its also been shown in studies that people with migraine are more likely to have allergies, and people with allergies are more likely to have migraine, though we don’t understand exactly why that link exists. It may potentially be related to genetic factors, says Dr. Hamilton.
A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences found that migraine frequency in people with allergic rhinitis was four times higher than in those without allergic rhinitis. Of those with migraine, 95 percent experienced migraine without aura and 5 percent had migraine with aura.
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Find The Root Cause Of Symptoms To Get Lasting Relief
Allergies are a common condition, and theyre easy to misdiagnose. Most patients dont need full skin or lab testing for allergies, so doctors often make a diagnosis based on patients symptoms, which can be similar to those of other conditions.
People often assume they have allergies based on a Google search of their symptoms without checking with a doctor. Or they dismiss allergies or sinus problems as something not worth caring about they just want relief from the symptoms that are interfering with their lives. Talk to your doctor about chronic symptoms, even if you think you know whats causing them.
My job as a doctor is to get to the root of whats harming my patients. If thats an allergy or a sinus condition, we have treatments available to address those problems. But these symptoms could be signs of more serious issues. If allergy or sinus treatments arent giving you relief, talk with your doctor about other potential causes of your symptoms to make sure youre getting to the root causeand treating it appropriately.
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Phase : Migraine Headache Phase
- Approximately 25% migraines start with neurologic symptoms called auras
- Small areas of visual loss or bright lights that may expand
- Geometric shapes and zigzag lines may appear
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities or face on one side is common
- Typically lasts 5-30 minutes and is followed by the headache
Initial Mild Headache
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You Feel Exhausted All The Time
When you think of allergies, you probably think of sneezing, wheezing, and rashes. Those are very common symptoms, but they arent the only ones! Cat allergies can also cause fatigue, leaving you feeling exhausted all the time. In fact, Healthline reports that experts give this type of fatigue a specific name â âbrain fogââ and itâs all to do with the inflammation.
âPeople with allergies experience inflammation,â ays from the Cleveland Clinic. âThat inflammation leads to a congested nose, disrupted sleep patterns and not getting good rest.â Itâs an easy symptom to overlook, as fatigue can have a variety of causes, but if its combined with some of the below symptoms, it could be a sign of allergies.
How Can Allergies Cause Headaches
Sinus headaches and migraines are the types of headaches often linked to allergies. A sinus headache may occur due to inflamed and obstructed sinuses. In many other cases, allergies may trigger migraines that cause throbbing in the head.
The sinuses are hollow air spaces found in the skull and the bones surrounding the nose. They have openings on the nose that allow for the drainage of sinus secretions and air. These pockets of air come in four pairs: one pair on each side of the nose, and another pair above each of the eyes.
However, respiratory allergies, like pollen allergies, may cause the sinuses to swell. When this happens, the openings in the sinus cavities can get obstructed. As such, the sinus secretions cant drain the normal way, so they begin to build-up.
This build-up of fluids can then put pressure on the sinus cavities and nasal passages. This may then lead to sinus headaches.
According to researchers, 90% of sinus headaches turn out to be migraines. The thing is, health experts have yet to find out the main causes of migraines. What they do know is that the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems all play a role in its occurrence.
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Treating Allergies Could Help With Migraine
There are certainly scenarios where treating allergies may help headaches, says Strauss. But what we want to avoid is spending years cycling through tons of allergy medicines if someone is having severe headaches. There are other medications wed want to try, she says.
If you have migraine attacks that seem to really be triggered by certain changes in the environment for example, higher pollen or if there is really a lot of nasal congestion or runny nose, then I think it may be worth exploring the role of allergies, says Hamilton.
Strauss suggests keeping a yearly calendar year to see if there are certain months or seasons when migraine attacks become a problem.
This can tip you off if its related to something in the environment, and you could talk with your doctor. It may help to take preventive migraine medications or allergy medicine during those months, she says.
How Are Migraines Diagnosed If You Have Allergies
See a doctor if you suspect you have either a sinus headache or a migraine caused by allergies. A proper diagnosis of your condition will help you manage your symptoms.
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, allergies, and family history when diagnosing the condition. You may undergo certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include a CT scan, MRI scan, or X-ray.
Your doctor may also look at the affected sinus tissues with a scope in the nasal passage.
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Treatment For Allergy Headaches
If your allergy headaches persist, your allergist may recommend one or more of the following treatments to offer relief.
- Pain Relievers: Advil and Tylenol can offer short-term relief for sinus pain.
- Oral & Nasal Decongestants: Available in over the counter medications, these can treat nasal congestion and relieve pressure which causes sinus headaches.
- Antihistamines: Histamines are natural chemicals in your body responsible for your bodys response to allergens. Antihistamines help block these chemicals to reduce allergy symptoms. Both OTC and prescription antihistamines are available.
- Intranasal Corticosteroids: These medications are extremely effective at treating allergic rhinitis and help reduce sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and runny nose.
- Immunotherapy : If you dont respond well to medications or experience side effects, allergy shots may be recommended by your allergist for a more permanent solution to an allergy problem.
If youre experiencing sinus headaches and pain due to allergies, speak with your allergist for treatment options. Contact the professionals at the Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida to schedule an appointment today.