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Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Anxiety

Study Limitations And Aims For The Future

Is there a hidden link between allergies and anxiety?

While the research did take into account some potentially modifying factors, such as age, biological sex, smoking status, and the existence of any hereditary predispositions to allergic reactions, the researchers acknowledge that the cohort may not have been representative of diverse age brackets.

We have a relatively high average age of 61 years, so younger people are rather underrepresented here, notes first author Katharina Harter, who works at TUM.

The findings are also based on personal reports rather than official allergy diagnoses, Harter continues. But, we have blood samples from all participants and intend to scientifically verify this point.

Despite these limitations, the study authors emphasize that their findings finally confirm that there is some kind of relationship between seasonal allergies and the experience of anxiety and that doctors need to pay more attention to their patients when they point out such associations.

There are studies that focus on the psychological components of skin diseases or allergic asthma. For the first time, we are now able to show a connection with seasonal allergies.

Katharina Harter

Stress Relief Strategies When Allergy Symptoms Escalate

To get back in control when allergy symptoms have you reeling, consider the following stress-relief strategies:

  • Figure out what’s adding to your stressful feelings and remove or reduce the source. If your stress is from overwork, learn to delegate, especially during allergy season. If your stress is from overextending yourself, rethink your priorities.
  • Get plenty of sleep every night, not just on weekends. Getting in bed and resting can restore the body’s balance and help the allergic body heal.
  • Set priorities and budget your time to allow for a little relaxation. Having a more balanced life with moments of R& R each day can help you deal with allergy symptoms more effectively.
  • Exercise daily. Even if you only have time to take a walk, exercise helps reduce stress hormones that may cause you to feel keyed up. And remember, exercise produces epinephrine, which acts as a natural , helping you breathe better.
  • Learn to meditate. Twenty minutes of meditation once or twice daily can help you reduce stress and feel more relaxed.
  • Keep taking your allergy medications. While that may not sound like a stress-relief strategy, it might surprise you. Stress may cause anxiety and depression, says Marshall, and depressed individuals are less compliant with their medications. So stay on track!

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Histamine & Liver Congestion

Often, excess histamine and underlying infection combine to make allergy symptoms particularly severe.

Ideally, your liver would remove any excess histamine caused by seasonal allergies but when it is congested from the strain of an underlying infection, it gets ‘behind’ at clearing away this excess histamine.

This is why you may have had mild allergies before but now the symptoms are unbearable.

There is a certain threshold, a certain amount of toxin or infection that your body can comfortably handle but once it passes that point your body falls behind and your symptoms drastically change.

This could mean that your symptoms get more severe, you have them more often, you have different triggers or they are a different set of symptoms entirely.

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How Seasonal Allergies May Be Increasing Your Anxiety

New research shows seasonal allergies may lead to increased anxiety.

If youre one of the millions of Americans who get persistent sneezing, coughing, and congestion this time of year, you might want to pay attention to new research that suggests a link between seasonal allergies and anxiety.

A study out of Germany examined how various kinds of allergies from perennial allergies like those to animal hair and food to seasonal allergies triggered by sources like grass pollen might be tied to peoples psychological health.

It also found that people with generalized anxiety disorders more often experienced pollen allergies, but not year-round allergies.

The research was published in the journal International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.

The difference between those with seasonal and year-round allergies was surprising to the research team, says Katharina Harter, MPH, the publications lead author.

Most surprising was the fact that we found differences between seasonal, or pollen, allergies and perennial allergies, like food allergy, Harter, a doctoral candidate at University Hospital Augsburg in Germany, told Healthline. Anxiety was positively associated with seasonal allergies but negatively associated with perennial allergies.

Harter adds that depression seemed to correlate solely with people who experienced year-round allergies.

Why did different kinds of allergies seem to be tied to different psychological conditions?

Why Seasonal Allergies Cause ‘brain Fog’

Seasonal Allergy: Symptoms, Causes,&  Treatment


The spring allergy season is upon us. Pollen counts are skyrocketing, sinuses are swelling, and for some of us other symptoms are creeping in as well. If youve experienced a brain fog characterized by dizziness, imbalance and fatigue during allergy season and wondered about the connection between the pollen youre inhaling and the mental murkiness, youre not alone. Science has been working the case, and although we dont have a clear picture just yet, were beginning to understand more about what happens in our brains when pollen is in the wind.

The basics of this story involve allergens and the immune system. If youre among the 30% or so of the population with seasonal allergies, your body responds to allergens as an assault and your immune system reacts by producing histamines, compounds that cause muscle contractions and blood vessel dilation. Later into the reaction, your body releases proteins called cytokines that signal the surrounding tissue to brace against the offenders.

All of this plus the activity of a few more chemicals results in inflammation, which we feel in our sinuses, nasal membranes, throats, eyes and lungs. Some of us are more sensitive to particular allergens , and the severity of reactions varies, from annoying to life threatening.

You can also try avoiding what sets you off , but for most allergy sufferers thats not much of an option.

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Tips For Better Sleep During Allergy Season

Sleeping during allergy season can be challenging, but there are ways to make yourself more comfortable. Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Vacuum your bedroom daily, or every few days to remove pollen, dust and pet dander that might be lingering on the floors, especially carpet.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier for your bedroom and run it daily to prevent mold growth and keep your HVAC system filters clean.
  • Change into fresh clothes after you come in from outside and wash your hands and face thoroughly. It might also help to keep your dirty laundry with allergens on it away from your bed.
  • Use a cooling gel eye mask to soothe irritated and itchy eyes. These masks can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer and are available at most drugstores.
  • Wear moisture-wicking clothing to bed if your allergies cause nighttime sweating. Find clothes made with synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and keep moisture away from skin.
  • Sleep with multiple pillows or a wedge pillow under your head to raise your upper body and help drain mucus out of your nose and lungs.
  • Create a relaxing nighttime routine to ease anxiety. Take a warm shower, read a book, or meditate to calm your mind.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink a glass of water before bed to thin the mucus in your nose. You can also try rinsing your sinuses at night with a saline solution.
  • Continue to follow allergy treatment protocol, even when your symptoms are manageable or seem to have gone.
  • Can Hay Fever Make Anxiety Worse

    Yes! Research has found that the emotional burden of hay fever can make anxiety worse for those who are anxious. Michael Blaiss, MD, ACAAI Executive Medical Director and lead author of the study The burden of allergic rhinitis and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis on adolescents stated, Three of the studies in our review examined how adolescents are emotionally affected by hay fever and hay fever with eye allergies . They found adolescents with hay fever had higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a lower resistance to stress. The adolescents also exhibited more hostility, impulsivity and changed their minds often.”

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    Can Allergies Cause Eczema Rashes And Hives

    Bumpy, itchy, red skin can be painful, irritating, and sometimes embarrassing. Many things cause rashes, including allergies, exposure to plants like poison ivy, certain illnesses such as chickenpox and measles, as well as over-reactions to foods and environmental contacts for some people. The most common skin rashes are hives and eczemaboth of which are linked with allergies and sensitivitiesand that is the focus of this article.

    Natural Seasonal Allergy Relief Strategies

    What Are Pollen Allergies and How Can You Manage Them?

    Here are five ways to tackle your seasonal allergies without drugs or medications.

    Take these steps to keep your allergies under control this season and prevent attacks in the future.


    Does this sound like you?

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    Dr. Pat | Be Brain Fit

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    The Allergy Insomnia Connection

    Its always nice when spring is here but those of us with seasonal allergies might be a bit concerned about how this season affects our sleep. And with good reason! A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that people with hay fever and other allergies have difficulty sleeping. These folks are also more than twice as likely as non-allergy sufferers to deal with sleep disorders like insomnia.

    Why Do We Get Allergies?

    Allergies come about when pollen and other allergens, such as house dust and pet dander, irritate the nasal passages. This causes symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes, and affects up to 50% of all Americans.

    Insomnia, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders affect up to 30% of Americans.

    What Causes Allergies to Get Worse?

    Allergy symptoms tend to get worse during the night for a variety of reasons. Allergies cause the nasal passages to swell, so theres less room for air to pass through, making nose breathing difficult. Cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone, is at its lowest level overnight. This causes a higher level of inflammation in the nose and lungs. Lying down to sleep brings gravity into play, and that can cause congestion to shift, making nose breathing even more difficult. Also, exposure to dust mites and pets is more common at night, which increases allergy symptoms. And histamine, which is actively involved in the regulation of sleep, may worsen allergy symptoms.

    What Can You Do?

    Sleep well!

    Both Affect Each Other

    The most likely scenario – as is often the case with anxiety comorbidities – is that the two are independent, but affect each other. Allergy attacks likely make anxiety worse, because they cause an even poorer quality of life and physical symptoms that may contribute to further anxiety. Anxiety makes allergies worse by altering the immune system and releasing more allergy-triggering hormones. Together, they become a cyclical problem that may not stop without the right treatment.

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    Types Of Hvac Filters

    HVAC filters fall into four main types. HVAC manufacturers typically provide a flat panel filter. These inexpensive filters typically have a MERV rating of just one to four and do little to improve the air quality in your home. Its best to replace this default filter as soon as possible, especially if you have allergies.

    Pleated filters have more surface area and are able to filter more particles from the air. They are available in medium efficiency versions, with MERV ratings of five to 13, as well as high-efficiency models, with MERV ratings up to 16.

    HEPA filters, with MERV ratings of 17 to 20, may seem at first glance to be the best choice for allergy sufferers. However, they are not recommended for typical central home HVAC systems. They put tremendous stress on the system and could even cause damage. If you want a HEPA filter, check with your HVAC system manufacturer to determine whether its safe. Otherwise, you may need costly upgrades to your system.

    Fortunately, HEPA filters are generally not necessary, even for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. A filter with a MERV rating of eight to 11 is sufficient for most homes, while those with allergies or respiratory ailments should select a filter in the nine to 12 MERV range. Many filter manufacturers offer filters that are specifically designed to remove the most common allergens, such as pollen and pet dander.

    Causes Of Cat Allergies

    The Connection Between Anxiety and Seasonal Allergies

    Feline allergies can generally be broken down into a few different categories: food allergies flea allergies. seasonal allergies and environmental allergies.

    If your kitty has food allergies, it means she has a negative reaction to certain ingredients in her food. Flea allergies can occur if your feline has an allergic reaction to flea bites.

    Common culprits of seasonal allergies include mold, pollen, grass, fungi, and dust. Environmental allergies are similar, though they can occur year-round if your kitty is allergic to certain medications or substances such as cleaning products and certain fabrics.

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    When More Help Is Needed

    Over-the-counter and prescription allergy pills, nasal sprays, and eye drops can be very effective. And when allergies prove especially severe or persistent, allergy shots are 90% effective over time.

    People with allergies and depression should make sure that all doctors involved in their care speak with one another in order to coordinate their efforts. âItâs important for the allergist to speak with the psychiatrist,â says Postolache. âThat is probably going to result in increased therapeutic control of both conditions.â

    Show Sources

    Richard W. Honsinger, MD, clinical professor of internal medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

    Richard F. Lockey, MD, professor of medicine and director, division of allergy and immunology, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa.

    Paul S. Marshall, PhD, clinical neuropsychologist, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis.

    Teodor T. Postolache, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and director, mood and anxiety program, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

    Cohen, P. American Journal of Epidemiology, February 1998 vol 147: pp 232-239.

    Hurwitz, E. American Journal of Epidemiology, November 15, 1999 vol 150: pp 1107-1116.

    Marshall, P. Psychosomatic Medicine, July/August 2002 vol 64: pp 684-691.

    Postolache, T.Molecular Psychiatry, October 2005 pp 232-238.

    Reduce Quick Head Movements

    Especially when dizziness is a primary symptom, do not stand up quickly or spin around. Notice how you may feel sicker when cleaning or cooking, activities which have a surprising amount of quick stooping and getting up.

    If you do have to be very active, take breaks. Applying a cool compress to the back of the head often helps nausea and feelings of dizziness.

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    Supplements For Controlling Seasonal Allergies Naturally

    If you are already experiencing allergic symptoms, you want relief fast.

    But taking antihistamines wont cure allergies or change the allergic process they merely block its expression.

    William E. Berger, MD, one of the nations foremost experts on allergies and asthma, reports that nearly a third of allergy patients dont find their allergy medications to be effective.

    Plus, pharmaceutical remedies frequently come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness and nasal irritation.

    Antihistamines are also one of the groups of drugs known for causing brain fog and memory loss.

    Disturbingly, even over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl can greatly increase your risk of dementia.

    The sedative effects of these drugs can leave you feeling drowsy.

    They can impair your judgment and your ability to drive.

    Unprocessed, locally produced honey contains minute amounts of pollen unique to your area and can significantly control allergy symptoms.

    Dont pick up cheap honey from the grocery store since it wont contain the pollen or the nutrients you need.

    Theres an abundance of supplements that act as natural allergy remedies.

    Some are proven to work, but for most, there is only anecdotal evidence.

    The Mount Sinai Hospitals health library suggests the following natural allergy remedies:


    Unfortunately, no single supplement works for everyone, so expect to go through some trial and error.

    One of my favorite allergy relief discoveries is apple polyphenols.

    Ways Allergies Cause Anxiety

    ‘Unusually early’ start to allergy season in B.C. linked to changing climate


    Whether you suffer from asthma, eczema, hayfever, seasonal allergies or food reactions, you may have noticed that allergies and sensitivities of any kind, can really affect your mental health. Research supports this idea too. Its been found for example that those with eczema and asthma are significantly more likely to have anxiety and depression as well.

    Allergy symptoms and anxiety symptoms can also be so similar that they cross over.

    Symptoms like

    • Increased heart rate
    • Tingling sensations

    Many of these symptoms can be a result of asthma, a food allergy or a panic attack. Because of this we can sometimes have trouble telling the difference between an allergic reaction and anxiety. Its even been suggested that when no medical cause of an allergy can be found, a psychiatric diagnosis should be considered instead. In other words, if your allergic reaction doesnt show up on paper, you may be treated as an anxiety or other mental health patient rather.

    However the link between allergies and mental health goes beyond just the confusion of common symptoms. It’s definitely deeper than that. Having allergies and sensitivities can impact our moods and mental health in many ways. This includes both psychological as well as physical influences.

    Here are 10 ways allergies can cause anxiety and influence our mental health.

    1. Allergies are Stressful

    2. The Body-Mind Effect

    3. A Threat is a Threat

    4. Breathing and Oxygenation

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    The Skin And Allergies

    An allergic response can affect the skin with swelling and an itchy rash, too. The ear has a considerable amount of skin that is at risk when allergies hit. There is the skin that covers the outer ear, known as the pinna, for example. The ear canal is covered with skin that can swell and itch enough to close the passage and prevent sound waves from moving forward.


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