Anyone who’s ever had an allergy headache knows it’s terrible. In this guide, we cover facts about allergy headaches you probably DON’T know—yet!
Did you know that an estimated 70% to 80% of the population experiences headaches? What’s more, half of these folks who do get headaches deal with such pain at least once a month!
Allergies are also prevalent, affecting at least 50 million people in the US. They’re so common that they’re now the sixth leading cause of chronic illnesses in the nation.
What a lot of people aren’t aware of, however, is that allergies can sometimes be the source of the headaches. Either way, an allergy headache can be as bad as or even worse than a typical headache. The symptoms of allergy headaches can even be as intense as those of a migraine.
To that end, we’ve come up with this guide detailing the link between allergies and headaches. Read on to learn the more about and the things you can do to avoid them.
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 (swollen) 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 can’t 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.
People with asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis) are more likely to have migraines than people who do not have these disorders. One reason for a migraine related to allergy to occur is when you experience an episode of respiratory allergy. In this case, your immune system reacts to the allergen by releasing some chemicals. These compounds can then trigger inflammation within the body and may lead to a migraine.
What Are Common Allergy Headache Symptoms?
An allergy headache can cause localized pain in the areas where the sinus cavities are. You may feel pain around the nose, in the cheeks, or above the eyes. Sometimes, the pain may spread to your jaw and make you feel like you have a toothache.
In the case of an allergy associated with migraine, the pain may feel like a throbbing sensation on the head. In many cases, the pain is only on one side of the head or in the bottom of the eyes. Some people do feel pain on both sides, though.
A migraine also often comes with nausea and may also worsen when exposed to sunlight or bright lights.
Which Allergies May Cause Headaches?
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common causes of allergy headaches. One likely reason is that often leads to nasal or sinus congestion. The blockage that it causes may then impede the proper draining of the sinus secretions.
Researches are questioning if some types of food, like aged cheese and wine, may also be behind allergy headaches and migraines. Experts say that this may have to do with the chemicals they release. These substances may dilate (widen up) or constrict (narrow down) the blood vessels.
Managing Allergy Headaches and Migraines
Do you think that your headaches or migraines are related to your allergies? If so, then the best way to manage them is to avoid the allergens that trigger your allergies.
Here are some of the top tips that can help you beat allergies and the headaches or migraines they cause.
Time Your Outdoor Activities
You might want to limit your outdoor exposure if there are high pollen counts in your area. This usually occurs in the midmorning or early evening. Close the windows during these times, too, as the wind can blow pollen particles into your home.
If you have summer allergies but you need to go out, be sure to don sunglasses (and don’t forget the facial mask). These can help reduce the amount of pollen that you get exposed to, which can flare up your sinuses.
Keep the Air Inside Your Home Clean and Clear
Many indoor allergens that could trigger sinus headaches and migraines are airborne. As such, it’s best to ensure that you always have optimal indoor air quality at home.
One way to do this is to vacuum regularly and get rid of clutter that can collect dust, dust mites, and even house bugs. You should also consider getting mite-proof covers for your pillows and mattresses.
Be sure that the indoor humidity also stays below 70%, so that you can prevent mold and mildew growth. If you have pipe leaks, get these fixed as soon as possible, as they can add more moisture to your home. Besides, water leaks waste a lot of water (and money).
High-quality air purifiers also provide the quickest way to get rid of most of allergens in the air. Such technologies clean the air and give you fresh air to breathe. They also kill various types of pathogens, like bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungi.
Don’t Let Allergy Headaches Get in the Way of Your Life
An allergy headache or migraine can be quite debilitating that it can get in the way of your daily life. You already go through a lot because of your allergies, so the last thing you want is to experience even more pain.
As such, it’s best to limit exposure to allergens to also avoid allergy headaches or migraines.
Are you interested in learning more about indoor air quality and how you can improve it? If so, then please know that our team here at Airfree is always ready to help! Give us a call now and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.