Man with headache
October 29, 2018
Allergies

Are These Secret Allergy Symptoms Affecting Your Life?

Do you know all the different ways your allergies can affect your life?

Many people think that allergies just cause sneezing and itchy eyes. However, seasonal allergies can cause many other symptoms and side effects. Here are some hidden allergy symptoms and side effects that may secretly influence your quality of life.

Physical Symptoms of Allergies

Besides sneezing and itchy eyes, other symptoms could indicate you have allergies.

Difficulty sleeping

It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you have sneezing, coughing, headaches, or a runny nose. Congestion makes breathing difficult at night, causing you to wake up early or struggle to get to sleep in the first place. This can also reduce the amount of oxygen your body gets, which can affect both mental and physical performance.

Headache

Inflammation and congestion in the nasal cavity from allergies often lead to headaches, especially around the face.

Sore throat

Allergens in the air, such as pollen, can irritate your throat when you breathe them in. If you breathe through your mouth because of a stuffy nose, especially while sleeping, the air flow also could dry out your throat and make it feel sore.

Mental and Long-Term Effects of Allergies

Unfortunately, allergies can have more than just physical symptoms. Serious, ongoing allergies may lead to mental and emotional distress and affect your physical or mental performance.

Depression and/or anxiety

Although scientists do not fully understand the link between mental health and sleep quality, several studies have found a connection between poor sleep and mental illness. If your allergies have been causing sleep disturbances, this could affect your mental well being.

Potential signs of depression or anxiety from sleep problems include nervousness or irritability, reduced interest in favorite activities, and feelings of sadness or hopelessness. These feelings could harm your relationships and social life. Children with sleep disturbances may have behavior problems or decreased school performance.

Increased risk of infections

An ongoing lack of sleep because of allergies also may weaken your immune system and make your body less prepared to fight off infections. It may take longer for the inflammation caused by allergies to heal. This could lead to upper respiratory infection or a sinus infection (sinusitis). Fluid buildup in the ears also could cause pain and lead to the development of ear infections. If left untreated, these infections can cause serious health risks.

Chronic bronchitis

While some allergies may cause a minor cough once in a while, it can also become a long-term nuisance if you don’t manage them appropriately. Acute bronchitis from a virus or bacteria usually goes away in a few weeks, but chronic bronchitis from allergies can linger for much longer. This can cause fatigue and further sleep disruptions. It can also put strain on your lungs and increase your risk of lung infections.

Lower productivity

If your allergy medications make you drowsy, or you experience a lack of sleep because of your symptoms, you may experience fatigue and have difficulty concentrating. As a result, you may become less productive at work or school. This can lead to stress that further affects performance, creating a vicious cycle.

Poor mental performance and “brain fog”

Many people with allergy problems also deal with “brain fog.” This usually means a combination of fatigue, dizziness, imbalance, and reduced concentration.

Scientists are trying to understand the connection between allergies and brain fog. One idea is that the inflammation from allergies affects mental functioning, including sleep, leading to the fatigue and reduced brainpower. The longer your allergies persist, the worse this can get. Allergies also may affect your eustachian tube, which helps drain your ears. When your middle ear cannot drain properly, this could lead to feelings of imbalance and dizziness.

What to do if you have these symptoms

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms related to allergies, you’re not alone: an estimated 67 million Americans experience allergies to some degree.

Many people can get a lot of relief with a few lifestyle adjustments:

●       Change your home’s air filters regularly.

●       If outdoor allergies are a problem for you, avoid going outside between 5am and 10am. This is usually when the pollen count is highest.

●       Shower, or at least wash your hair, everyday to remove allergens.

●       Use allergy-safe covers for your pillows and mattresses.

●       Change and wash your bedding regularly.

●       Vacuum the floors often.

●       Reduce clutter to create fewer places where dust, dander, and other allergens can collect.

●       Avoid smoking or being around secondhand smoke.

Although these options can help reduce some of the symptoms and effects, your best option is to talk to your doctor or an allergy specialist.

The experts at Texan Allergy &Sinus Center have the tools and experience you need to determine the best way to treat and manage your symptoms. Don’t wait any longer--request an appointment today!