Allergic rhinitis is extremely common, affecting up to 60 million Americans and increasing. In fact, allergic rhinitis is the fifth most common chronic disease in the country. Unfortunately, allergies are accompanied by headaches, leading many to search for relief.
Symptoms and Causes of Allergy Headaches
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), both sinus headaches and migraines can be linked to allergies, although there is some suggestion that what many people believe is an allergy headache is in fact a migraine or tension headache.
If you are experiencing a headache in the front of your head as well as your sinuses, ears, or teeth, it may be caused by your allergies. Other signs and symptoms that the head pain you are experiencing may be connected to your allergies include a runny or itchy nose, nasal congestion, and itchy or watery eyes.
An allergy headache can be triggered by certain foods or smoke, pollen, mold, dust, and other allergens, as well as by stress or nasal and sinus congestion.
Relief from Allergy Headaches
No matter what the cause of a headache — allergies, tension or something else — everyone wants a way to rid themselves of the pain as quickly as possible.
For an allergy headache, the first step is to identify and then avoid whatever triggers set off your headache in the first place. This may require making changes to your home or behavior. For instance, if dust triggers your allergy headaches, you may have to clean and vacuum more regularly.
Other ways to control environmental factors that can lead to allergy headaches, include:
- Limiting outdoor exposure when pollen counts are high
- Avoiding ventilation systems that draw air from outside into your home
- Wearing sunglasses to limit allergen exposure to your eyes
- Washing your hands, especially after petting animals or touching trigger substances
- Keeping the humidity in your home at low levels to limit exposure to mold
- Cleaning floors with a damp mop, rather than sweeping
- Placing an air purifier in your bedroom
Treating the allergy is the next line of defense. This may mean taking nonprescription (over-the-counter) medications to control allergy symptoms and any allergy-related headaches you experience. Options include antihistamines, oral and nasal decongestants, and intranasal corticosteroids.
If these steps fail, consult with an allergist. A trained allergy specialist can recommend other strategies, including prescription medications that may be more effective. The allergist may also recommend allergy shots to help you manage your allergies.
Do you struggle with allergy headaches? Columbia Allergy can help. With convenient locations in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, our providers take a patient-focused approach that views every person as an individual with unique challenges and goals. Contact us to learn more about how we can relieve your allergy symptoms.
This is not medical advice. If you’re concerned that you may have allergies or asthma, please consult a medical professional.