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Can Pet Allergies Cause Migraines

How Do You Get Rid Of An Allergy Headache

Can allergies cause migraines?

Treating allergy headaches often requires a multi-pronged approach:

  • Reduce your allergy symptoms and sinus congestion with an antihistamine, decongestant, or intranasal corticosteroid.
  • Take acetaminophen , migraine medicine, or other pain relievers to minimize or eliminate your headache.
  • Try at-home treatments like using a neti pot, drinking plenty of fluids, and applying a warm wet washcloth to your face.

How To Reduce Your Allergy Symptoms

You can start with over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants to treat the allergy symptoms you’re having now. The next step is getting immunotherapy by making an appointment with an allergist. The doctor will do an allergy test to see what you’re allergic to and create allergy shots to help your immune system. You’ll see a decrease in allergy symptoms, including those painful allergy migraines. Your allergist will give you injections that contain a small amount of your allergens to help your immune system recognize that they are not a threat to your health to build up a tolerance to them instead of overreacting and triggering allergy attacks.

Limit your exposure to your allergens by avoiding going outside on windy days and when the pollen count is high. Use air conditioning with a HEPA filter to keep the air in your home clean and free of allergens. Avoid yard work and hanging clothes outside to dry. Use allergy-friendly covers on your pillows, mattresses, and box springs. Clean with wet mops instead of brooms, and keep pets out of your bedroom. Replace any carpeting with flooring because carpets can keep allergens trapped in them. Use a neti pot daily to clean out your sinuses. You should see a decrease in your allergy symptoms and headaches or migraines after taking these steps .

Can Treating My Allergies Prevent Migraines

So, if you have allergies and migraines, what can you do to feel better?

Well, you can start by treating your allergies. Just like with other migraine triggers, avoiding the trigger in the first place can help you get fewer migraines.

One study found that immunotherapy for allergies helped younger patients get migraines less often.

That said, Dr. Crystal has noticed in her own practice that for some of her patients, starting allergy shots can cause migraines to get worse in the short-term. âPre-treating with an anti-inflammatory prior to the shots may help.â

Also Check: How To Read Allergy Skin Test Results

What Is An Allergy Headache

You can have a headache accompanied by an allergy attack, or an allergy attack that triggers a headache. In either case, we call that an allergy headache. Allergic symptoms that accompany an allergy headache include sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy throat and sinus pressure.

People Who Experience Migraines And Allergies Could Have Worse Headache Symptoms

Migrane Due to Food Allergy l IAFA

Having allergies could make headache symptoms worse for people who experience migraines, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Cephalalgia, showed that people with both migraines and rhinitis experience more frequent headaches compared with people who have migraines but not rhinitis.

“We are not sure whether the rhinitis causes the increased frequency of headaches or whether the migraine attacks themselves produce symptoms of rhinitis in these patients,” study researcher Vincent Martin, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati, said in a statement. “What we can say is if you have these symptoms, you are more likely to have more frequent and disabling headaches.”

Researchers found that two-thirds of the people with migraine in the study also had rhinitis. They also found that headache frequency was 33 percent greater among people who experienced migraine and rhinitis, compared with just migraine.

People who had “mixed rhinitis” — meaning their allergy symptoms are triggered by not only known triggers like cats and dogs and tree pollen, but also non-allergic triggers like perfume, weather and cigarette smoke — seemed to have it the worst. Those with mixed rhinitis had a 45 percent higher risk of experiencing more frequent headaches and a 60 percent higher risk of experiencing more disabling headaches, compared to migraineurs without rhinitis.

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Managing Allergies And Migraine

Managing an increase in migraine frequency related to seasonal allergies usually starts with treating allergy symptoms. Allergy medications, steroid nasal sprays and other medications may effectively manage allergies and reduce migraine frequency. However, there is a lack of evidence-based research that these medications are effective in decreasing migraine frequency and intensity.

Early research shows that allergy shots, also called allergy immunotherapy, were associated with a 52 percent reduction in the frequency of migraines in younger people. However, this study had some limitations and we need additional research to determine the effect of allergy shots on migraine.

Related article: Woman receives life-changing migraine care at Nuvance Health

The bottom line: Research shows a link between migraine, allergies and asthma, which could cause people with migraine to experience symptoms that are more frequent during allergy season. Managing seasonal allergies along with migraine treatment from a headache specialist may help to decrease migraine frequency.

Dr. Hida Nierenburg completed her fellowship in headaches at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Headache Institute in New York City, and her residency in neurology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C.

Phase : Migraine Headache Phase

Migraine Aura

  • 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

  • Pain/ pressure of the forehead and cheekbones, can progress to throbbing pain
  • Bending over can worsen the headache
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Better response to headache medications and fewer side effects during the mild phase

Moderate to Severe Headache

  • Increasing severity of pain and other symptoms
  • Pain when lightly touching areas of face or brushing hair
  • Worsening light and sound sensitivity a quiet and dark room may help
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache often become disabling patients frequently need to sleep the headache off

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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 .

Keep The Air Inside Your Home Clean And Clear

Food Allergies and the Causes of Migraines. Are There Foods to Avoid?

Many indoor allergens that could trigger sinus headaches and migraines are airborne. As such, its 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 .

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.

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Sometimes Your Allergy Headaches Are Triggered By Indoor Exposure Some Prevention Measures For This Include:

  • Properly maintain air conditioning and furnaces, and change air filters regularly.
  • Use allergy-friendly covers for pillows, comforters, mattresses, and box springs.
  • Keep your homeâs humidity between 30 and 50 percent to discourage mold.
  • Clean floors with damp rags or mops, since dry-dusting or sweeping can stir up possible allergens.
  • Wash your hands after handling animals and wash your clothes after visiting homes with pets.
  • Replace carpeting in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum to reduce dust and pet dander collection.
  • Avoid using products with strong fragrances, such as scented candles or air fresheners.

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.

Sinus Headaches

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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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 you’re 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 there’s 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.

How Are Allergies Diagnosed

Can Nasal Allergies Cause Sinus Problems?

Some allergies are fairly easy to identify but others are less obvious because they can be similar to other conditions.

If your child has cold-like symptoms lasting longer than a week or two or develops a cold at the same time every year, talk with your doctor, who might diagnose an allergy and prescribe medicines, or may refer you to an allergist for allergy tests.

To find the cause of an allergy, allergists usually do skin tests for the most common environmental and food allergens. A skin test can work in one of two ways:

  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is scratched with a small pricking device.
  • A small amount of allergen is injected just under the skin. This test stings a little but isnt painful.
  • After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears at the site, the test is positive.

    Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are very sensitive to a particular allergen.

    Even if testing shows an allergy, a child also must have symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.


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    What Is The Treatment For Non

    Painkillers can help soothe symptoms related to non-sinus related headaches. However, it is best to treat the underlying condition thats causing your headaches to prevent future headaches. For TMJ headaches, a mouthguard worn when sleeping can help prevent headaches. Muscle relaxers may also help prevent muscle-related headaches. Be sure to consult with your doctors before taking any new medication.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Take Allergy Medicine With Antibiotics

    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 aren’t 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 it’s combined with some of the below symptoms, it could be a sign of allergies.

    Sinus Health And Allergies: Pet Dander

    Do You Suffer from Allergy or Sinus Headaches? Synergy Oviedo Chiropractic

    You may be aware that over 70% of U.S. households contain at least one dog or cat, but what you may not know is that 10% of the American population has some type of animal allergy.

    Our pets are an important part of our lives. They provide us companionship and just having them around can reduce our stress. Everybody should have the opportunity to discover the joys of a pet. Those who develop sinus infections because of allergies to pet dander should take care to know the risks involved with different pets to be sure that the pet they select is right for them.

    Dr. Bennett urges patients to use this article as a way to take note of the causes of pet allergies, the ways in which they trigger a sinus infection and preventative steps to minimize contact with allergens without reducing the amount of quality time you spend with your beloved pet.

    Pet allergies are common for all ages

    Also Check: Can You Take Allergy Medicine With Antibiotics

    Migraine And Headache Suggestions

    1. Keep a headache diary and include your daily intake of these items to help identify a migraine and headache triggers.

    • Foods
    • Supplements
    • Medications

    2. Causes of a migraine can overlap with many factors contributing to why you are having increased migraine and/or headaches.

    • Learn about your family history with a migraine and headache disorders. If it runs in the family, there is a greater chance that you could inherit a migraine as well.
    • Your personal history needs to be looked at carefully to identify any other possible contributors to your headaches/migraine.

    Remember that there is help for people who have a migraine with allergies. You can manage them both effectively with the right treatments and modifications.

    Underlying allergies can coexist with a migraine, but it does not have to become an untreatable situation.

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    Which Allergies Cause Headaches

    Here are some of the common allergies that can lead to headaches:

    • Allergic rhinitis . If you have a headache along with seasonal and indoor nasal allergies, its more likely due to a migraine headache rather than allergies. But pain related to hay fever or other allergic reactions may cause headaches due to sinus disease. A true sinus headache is actually quite rare.
    • Food allergies. There can be a relationship between food and headaches. For example, foods like aged cheese, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate can trigger a migraine in some people. Experts believe its the chemical properties of certain foods that trigger the pain, as opposed to a true food allergy.
    • Histamine. The body produces histamines in response to an allergic reaction. Among other things, histamines decrease blood pressure . This can result in headache.

    Treat an allergy headache the same way that youd deal with any other headache. If allergies are the source of the headache, there are ways to address the root cause.

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