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How To Treat An Allergy Headache

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.


Symptoms And Causes Of Allergy Headaches

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , 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.

Are Allergies Triggering Your Migraine Attacks

While allergies can trigger migraine attacks, its also possible that you just have both conditions simultaneously.

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For some people with allergies, symptoms like sneezing, sinus congestion, and watery eyes can also come with a headache. Many people who experience head pain with their allergies wrongly assume its just another symptom of allergies, or a sinus headache, according to Lauren Doyle Strauss, DO, a headache specialist and an assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

I see people with allergies who think they have sinus headaches when in reality, many of them meet the criteria for migraine, says Dr. Strauss.

If youre living with both conditions, the one-two punch of allergies and migraine can keep you indoors and away from friends and activities for weeks or even months, depending on the season. Find out how allergies may be triggering or worsening migraine and what the experts advise about seeking diagnosis and treatment.

RELATED: Is It a Migraine Attack or a Sinus Headache?

How To Treat An Allergy Migraine

When you have an allergy migraine, youll want to treat both the migraine and the underlying allergies. Over-the-counter antihistamines can help reduce allergy symptoms, Dr. Cooper says, and in some cases can lower headache frequency when used appropriately.

As for treating migraines, talk to your doctor about the right migraine medication for you, as there are a variety of options, including over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, migraine-specific medications like triptans and ergots, and preventative medications such as antihypertensives, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

The good news is you dont have to choose whether to treat the allergies or the migraineyou can target both. Most OTC medications for allergies and headache are safe to take together when used appropriately, Dr. Cooper adds. If you have headaches more than four days per month, however, talk to your doctor, he advises. Frequently taking OTC meds like ibuprofen for headache relief can result in medication overuse headaches, which are headaches triggered by medication itself.

Find out if your allergy medications are workingor not.

What Causes Sinus Headaches

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Sinus infections cause sinus headaches. Anything that makes mucus buildup in the sinuses can lead to a sinus infection, such as:

  • The common cold is most often to blame.
  • Seasonal allergies trigger mucus production.
  • Nasal polyps, abnormal growths in the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps can block mucus from draining.
  • Deviated septum, which is when the line of cartilage and bone down the center of the nose isnt straight. A deviated septum can prevent mucus from properly draining.

Too much mucus gives germs an opportunity to grow. As germs build up, they irritate the sinuses. In response, sinus tissue swells, blocking the passage of mucus. Swollen, irritated sinuses filled with liquid make your face feel tender and achy.

Going Against The Migraine: Prevention

The best way to avoid allergy migraine is to stay away from the allergens you already know about.

The first step in preventing allergy migraine is to see an allergist to identify any seasonal or food allergies you may have.

To avoid seasonal allergies that can cause migraine:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts in your area.
  • Keep your home and car windows and doors shut during allergy season.
  • Shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to wave buh-bye to allergens after youve been outside.
  • Wear a NIOSH-rated N95 filter mask when doing chores outside or during other activities that can expose you to high levels of allergens.
  • Take whichever allergy medication your doctor recommends.

Healthy eating is an important part of migraine management, as is avoiding notorious migraine trigger foods.

How Do You Treat Allergy Headaches

If your allergy headache is caused by a food allergy, you should avoid the food that you are allergic to and see a doctor, as food allergies can sometimes be fatal. On the other hand, there are foods that you can eat that are said to help relieve your allergies. Omega-3s are great for allergies because they help to fight inflammation. When pollen is high, horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard help keep your airways clear. All of these may act as natural, temporary decongestants.

If your allergy headaches are caused by seasonal allergies, there are several over the counter allergy medications, like antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids, that you can take to help relieve them. Your doctor may also give you allergy shots for your allergies.Furthermore, there are several natural ways that you can relieve allergies, and thus relieve your allergy headache.

Some examples include using a neti pot, using nasal saline spray, using a humidifier, and inhaling steam. If you have a sinus headache, the best way to get rid of it is to treat the inflammation. If you have a bacterial infection in your sinuses that is causing the headache, your doctor can prescribe you some antibiotics.

If you suffer from frequent allergy headaches, it may be beneficial to visit an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Contact Silverstein Institute today to schedule an appointment.


How To Know When Its Allergy Migraine And When Its Sinus Headache

Allergy-related migraine episodes and sinus headaches have similar symptoms. Both typically involve facial pain. Symptoms may also include a stuffy or runny nose and post-nasal drip. And allergies are just one potential migraine trigger.

For this reason, doctors often misdiagnose migraine as a sinus headache.

However, a sinus headache is rarely debilitating . And the only true sinus headaches happen as a result of sinusitis or pressure from conditions such as nasal polyps.

In fact, a sinus headache often doesnt actually involve a headache at all. The pain is generally limited to:

  • your forehead
  • the areas between and behind your eyes
  • under your cheekbones

This is because when your sinuses swell, they tend to press on those areas.

An intense, often one-sided headache is the major sign of migraine and an allergy might have triggered it. But no two migraine experiences are the same, which is why diagnosis is sometimes a little tricky.

Most people with a sinus headache describe the pain as dull or pressure-related. Migraine pain, on the other hand, is usually throbbing or stabbing.

The allergens that can trigger migraine include the usual suspects on the seasonal allergies naughty list mold and pollen in the spring and ragweed in the fall.

Other possible fall allergens:

  • burning bush
  • cocklebur

Otc Medications For Allergies And Migraine Come With Potential Risks

If the symptoms of allergies and migraine are fairly mild, they could both be treated with just over-the-counter medications, says Hamilton. I would caution people who are self-treating who think their headaches are from allergies. They may take a lot of allergy medication, and certain ones like Sudafed can potentially cause a worsening headache if you take it frequently, she says.

Pain relivers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDS, decongestants, and combination medicines that contain caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen or butalbital can all contribute to medication overuse headache , according to the American Migraine Foundation.

MOH is defined as a headache occurring on 15 or more days per month in a person with a preexisting primary headache and developing as a consequence of regular overuse of acute or symptomatic headache medication, according to the International Headache Society.

RELATED: 10 Things You Need to Know About Medication-Overuse Headache

Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress

Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms.

Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain .

In one study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduced migraine pain .

To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.

Coenzyme Q10 is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant .

Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.

For example, one study in 80 people demonstrated that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements per day reduced migraine frequency, severity and length .

Another study including 42 people who experienced frequent migraines found that three 100-mg doses of CoQ10 throughout the day helped decrease migraine frequency and migraine-related symptoms like nausea (

Conventional Treatment Of Allergy Headaches

A number of over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines can help prevent allergy symptoms. Decongestants can help relieve a stuffy nose that can be one of the causes of a headache. You also can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil to treat headaches. In addition, antihistamines can help treat allergic symptoms, including sneezing and running nose, but also commonly cause drowsiness, grogginess, and dry mouth. Prescription antihistamines are less likely to cause these side effects but still may.

Decongestant pills and nasal sprays can block the effects of histamine on nasal passages and often can help ease nasal congestion, but their effects are only temporary, and overuse can actually worsen congestion over time. These drugs should not be taken by people with high blood pressure. Over-the-counter and prescription eyedrops can help relieve itchy eyes caused by allergens.  Prescription nasal steroid sprays can tone down the immune response and combat swelling in the nose, which helps ease congestion. They often can take about 2 weeks to start working effectively.

Papers Of Particular Interest Published Recently Have Been Highlighted As: Of Importance

This review article reveals opportunities to improve the diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis through a new multidisciplinary, evidence-based clinical practice guideline. The consensus was created by a multidisciplinary panel of experts in otolaryngology, allergy and immunology, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, sleep medicine, advanced pediatric nursing, and complementary, and integrative medicine; however, the neurologic point of view is absentThe AMPP Study is a longitudinal, population-based study of individuals from the USA with severe headache. The study started in 2004, when headache questionnaires were mailed to 120,000 households . During phase 2, 24,000 people with severe headaches were selected to complete surveys once a year from 2005 to 2009. From this study, we have learned about the prevalence of migraine and chronic migraine, the comorbidities of migraine, the level of disability, the burden and costs, and the treatments used by patients

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Types of headaches

  • Could anything else, such as a cold or the flu, be causing my symptoms?
  • How do I figure out what Im allergic to?
  • Is my allergy seasonal?
  • I am allergic to _____. Am I at risk for any other allergies?
  • What changes can I make at home to relieve my symptoms?
  • Will any over-the counter medicines relieve my symptoms?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse or dont respond to the treatment youve prescribed?
  • Do I need to see an allergy specialist ?

Migraine Hay Fever Asthma And Allergies

Spring is a welcomed change in seasons, especially for people who endure frigid winters and copious snowfall. But for the percentage of people living with migraine who also experience allergies, asthma or hay fever, its a time of year when headaches tend to increase and are accompanied by the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Heres what we know about the connection between migraine, hay fever, asthma, allergies, and the treatment options currently being used to manage them.

What is hay fever and how is it diagnosed?

The medical term for hay fever is allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis occurs when a patient develops symptoms of runny nose, post nasal drip and nasal congestion upon exposure to an allergen.  An allergen is something in the environment to which you are allergic such as tree pollen, mold, cat hair, dog hair or dust. To firmly establish the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, one must have the above mentioned symptoms upon exposure to the allergen and also have a positive allergy test to that allergen. Allergy testing can take one of two forms: skin prick testing and blood tests.  With skin prick testing, an allergist puts minute quantities of allergen on the tip of a needle and then he/she pricks your skin with the needle. A positive response requires that a certain degree of redness and swelling of the skin occurs in the region of the skin prick.  In addition, blood tests can be performed to identify an allergen.  

What is asthma and how is it diagnosed?


What Are The Signs You Have A Sinus Headache

When you or your child are experiencing a headache, there are signs and symptoms that can help determine whether its a sinus headache, rather than a migraine or other issue.

  • Blocked nose with a yellow discharge
  • Pain across your forehead, cheeks and nose
  • Increased pain when you move your head or bend over
  • Persistent pain that remains after a cold has cleared

What Can I Do About Recurring Sinus Headaches

Many sinus headaches, especially those that recur, are actually migraines. But its smart to see your healthcare provider to figure out the cause of your headaches.

You may find that the best long-term solution is figuring out what triggers your migraine headaches so you can avoid them. Its helpful to keep a headache diary to track potential triggers. Triggers you can control include:

  • Alcohol.
  • Specific foods, such as chocolate, red wine or strong cheese.
  • Lack of sleep.

Ways On How To Treat Allergic Rhinitis Naturally At Home

Allergic rhinitis is one of the common problems which both adults and children can suffer from. Those who suffer from this problem may feel uncomfortable and annoyed. If someone has serious allergic rhinitis, it will drive them crazy. Thus, if it happens to you, what will you do? Do you take some medicine or try using natural remedies at home? Today, VKool will present to you 17 ways on how to treat allergic rhinitis naturally at home. You ought to read and try applying them at your sweet home to say goodbye allergic rhinitis.

How Can You Treat Allergy Symptoms

If you are among the 20 percent of Americans who suffer from symptoms of allergic rhinitis, you know how inconvenient and even debilitating an allergy attack can be. 

As a result, pharmaceutical companies have increasingly focused their research and development efforts on developing new medications that can be used to treat allergy symptoms. Many allergy medications were previously available by prescription only, but today, there are many over-the-counter medication options as well.

There are three main classes of drugs that are used to treat symptoms of allergies, including allergy headaches: antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids.

Treatment For Allergy Headaches

If your allergy headaches persist, your allergist may recommend one or more of the following treatments to offer relief.

  • Pain Relievers: Advil and Tylenol can offer short-term relief for sinus pain.
  • Oral & Nasal Decongestants: Available in over the counter medications, these can treat nasal congestion and relieve pressure which causes sinus headaches.
  • Antihistamines: Histamines are natural chemicals in your body responsible for your bodys response to allergens. Antihistamines help block these chemicals to reduce allergy symptoms. Both OTC and prescription antihistamines are available.
  • Intranasal Corticosteroids: These medications are extremely effective at treating allergic rhinitis and help reduce sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and runny nose.
  • Immunotherapy : If you dont respond well to medications or experience side effects, allergy shots may be recommended by your allergist for a more permanent solution to an allergy problem.

If youre experiencing sinus headaches and pain due to allergies, speak with your allergist for treatment options. Contact the professionals at the Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida to schedule an appointment today.

How To Find Relief When You Have An Allergy Headache

If you have an allergist in place already, it doesnt hurt to see them to make sure your medication is working for you.

In general, Dr. Kleva says theyll recommend that you use a nasal spray like , , or to help keep things under control. However, she points out, these drugs take time to work and wont clear up your headache right away.

For quick relief, Dr. Kleva recommends reaching for an OTC antihistamine with a decongestant like Allegra-D, which you can pick up at most drugstores. These shouldnt be used longterm, though, she says.

Its also a good idea to avoid your triggers as best you can, Dr. Wright says .

And if youre still struggling, see your doctor. They can make recommendations based on your individual needs to help clear up your allergy headaches once and for all.

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Dr Weil Also Recommends The Following Lifestyle Modifications:

How To Identify Your Reaction: Food Allergy vs ...

  • Follow a low-protein diet and try to eliminate milk and milk products. Excessive protein can irritate the immune system and keep it in a state of over-reactivity. The protein in cows milk is a frequent offender.
  • Try hypnosis, which can lessen or completely prevent allergic reactions and facilitate the immune systems unlearning of its pointless habits .
  • Consider whether stress impacts your allergy and, if so, take steps to reduce it.
  • Consider buying an air filter. He recommends a HEPA filter, which removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores. These devices work well and arent too expensive. Get one for the main rooms in your house or move one from room to room regularly. Avoid air-filtering equipment that generates ozone .

If Your Headache Feels Connected To Your Allergies The Aaaai Reports It’s Most Likely A Sinus Headache

These headaches are often triggered by nasal or sinus congestion , and the pain is usually centralized in the middle of your face, behind the eyes and nose.

Sinus headaches, specifically, happen when your sinuses become swollen, thus causing a build-up of pressure and icky congestion, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Usually, these headaches become less painful when you move from lying down to sitting or standing up, which might explain things if you tend to wake up with an awful, splitting headache in the morning during allergy season, but seem to feel better as the day goes on.

If you don’t feel better as the day progresses , don’t panic. Just because an allergy-related headache isn’t going away, that doesn’t mean you’re totally doomed, or that it’s a sign of something bigger.

How To Treat Sinusitis

Applying heated pads or warm compresses to the face may help. Some people may also find relief by taking allergy medications or over-the-counter pain relievers.

Antibiotics some sinus infections, but only if they are due to bacteria. They cannot help with viral infections.

Some people may develop a chronic form of sinusitis that may require a consultation with a specialist.

affect the middle ear , which is just past the eardrum. These infections are common among children. Sometimes, an ear infection follows another illness, such as a sinus infection or the .

The middle ear makes fluid itself to keep itself clean. This fluid should drain into the throat through an opening. However, if the throat becomes swollen, the opening swells shut. Therefore, the fluid collects, which can be painful. It may then become infected.

Symptoms may come on suddenly, and most people develop a fever. A person may also have pressure in the head, ringing in the ears, or dizziness.

Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis

Your symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of your allergies. Symptoms can include:

  • Sneezing.
  • Itching .
  • Runny nose.
  • Pressure in the nose and cheeks.
  • Ear fullness and popping.
  • Watery, red, or swollen eyes.
  • Dark circles under your eyes.
  • Trouble smelling.
  • Hives.

Allergic rhinitis can last several weeks, longer than a cold or the flu. It does not cause fever. The nasal discharge from hay fever is thin, watery, and clear. Nasal discharge from a cold or the flu tends to be thicker. Itching is common with hay fever but not with a cold or the flu. Sneezing occurs more with hay fever. You may even have severe sneeze attacks.

How To Treat Allergic Rhinitis With Stinging Nettle

From the past until now, this herb, sometimes called Urtica dioica, has been used to cure allergic rhinitis. It contains anti-inflammatory and antihistamine agent so it gives you a quick relief from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis like a cough, itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

This is the way for you to use stinging nettle:

Firstly, take a tablespoon of stinging nettle leaves which are dried

Then add them to a cup of boiling water

Next, cover it and let it steep for about 5 minutes

After that, strain this herbal tea as well as add a little honey to it

Finally, drink it

You ought to repeat it up to three times a day daily until you feel better. Taking stinging nettle supplements is also a good idea for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. But they should consult the doctors advice first.

Besides, pregnant women, together with young children, shouldnt use stinging nettle to treat allergic rhinitis.

When To See Your Doctor

Although many allergies can be controlled with judicial use of OTC medications, its always wise to consult with your doctor. If allergies are negatively impacting your quality of life or interfering with your daily activities, its in your best interests to explore treatment options with your doctor.

Your doctor might recommend that you see an allergist. This is a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating allergic conditions, such as asthma and eczema. An allergist might offer you a number of suggestions for treatment, including:

What Are Sinuses And Sinus Headaches

Sinuses are air-filled cavities located in the forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of the nose. The sinuses produce a thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. When a sinus becomes inflamed, usually as the result of allergies or an infection, the inflammation will prevent the outflow of mucus and cause a pain similar to that of a headache.


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