What Does An Allergy Headache Feel Like
When you experience a headache caused by allergies, you may feel them in any of these spaces within your sinuses. It may even feel like your face, rather than your head, is what really hurts. You may have pain in the cheeks that radiates to your jaw and teeth. You may feel pain on the top of your head.
Allergies may also trigger a migraine headache. This type of headache may include throbbing, and is usually felt on one side of the head. You may find that the pain gets worse in sunlight or that you also feel nauseated.
The skull has a series of connected, hollow spaces known as sinuses, which are lined with soft tissue and a layer of mucus. These sinuses help humidify and filter the air you breathe, and help drain the nose. Allergy symptoms often appear in the sinuses, like when your nose is running or stuffed up.
Some of the spaces that make up the sinuses are found in the:
- Between or behind the eyes
- Behind the nose
You may experience headaches and pain if your sinuses are swollen or their openings are obstructed. This often happens with allergies. Swelling and blockage in the sinuses can prevent normal drainage and airflow, causing a buildup of pressure. Other allergy triggers, such as smoke or certain foods, can lead to headaches.
The degree of pain from an allergy headache can vary widely, from dull to almost debilitating. The level of pain may also change with your position, such as whether you are standing or lying down.
Persistent Headache More Typical Of Migraine Than Allergies
Trying to determine what is headache due to migraine versus what is a headache due to allergies is a common issue, says Hamilton. We know that a lot of people can have a misdiagnosis of sinus headaches or headaches from allergies, when in fact their headaches are from migraine.
Hamilton points to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found that 88 percent of people with a history of sinus headaches actually had a migraine-type headache. A large percentage of people were misdiagnosed, she says.
The fact is, headache is not a very common symptom, in and of itself, of seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Its much more common to have symptoms such as nasal congestion, like a stuffy nose or runny nose, and eye watering, says Hamilton.
If you do have a headache that persists, it might not be just allergies, she says. That might be an indication that there’s also migraine going on. Typically, headache can be due a sinus infection or viral or bacterial infection, but it’s rare to have a significant headache from just allergy symptoms, says Hamilton.
You’ve Got All The Typical Symptoms
If you think of sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes when you think of seasonal allergies, you’d be on the right track. There’s a good chance you have seasonal allergies if you experience any of the following symptoms:;
- Frequent sneezing
- Itchy throat;
- Puffy eyelids
Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. If you have winter allergies, you’re probably allergic to an indoor allergen like dust mites.
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Spring Allergies Vs Covid
A helpful table to compare symptoms
With the COVID-19 virus circulating, every cough or sneeze might bring on feelings of unease. Could these symptoms be caused by the coronavirus? Or is it just seasonal allergies?
The signs and symptoms of spring allergies overlap with some of the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. Use the table below to compare the symptoms of spring allergies with those of COVID-19.
How To Manage Allergies
Learning how to manage allergies might not end your sinus headaches or your migraines. But it might help make you feel more comfortable overall.
A doctor may give you antihistamines or suggest decongestants to reduce allergy symptoms and sinus pressure. Allergy shots can also be useful.
To manage allergies without meds, take simple steps such as the following:
- Avoid going outside or opening windows on windy days or when pollen levels are high.
- Dust your home and clean your bedding.
- Stay hydrated to thin out mucus.
- Vacuum your carpets and avoid putting down rugs and carpet when possible.
- Wash your hands after playing with or handling pets.
Despite at times overlapping and having similar symptoms, migraines, sinus headaches and allergies are different conditions that might require different solutions.
Need a primary care provider to help you sort things out? Find a Bon Secours provider near you.
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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:
- Specific foods, such as chocolate, red wine or strong cheese.
- Lack of sleep.
Allergy Medicine For Mold
will likely be given as mold allergy medication to control the symptoms. In case of allergic rhinitis, you may also be given nasal corticosteroids, Montelukast, or decongestant nasal sprays. Other treatments may include nasal lavage, which involves rinsing your nose with salt water every day, and immunotherapy.
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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.
Symptoms Of Mold Sickness
Diagnosing mold illness can be tricky since its symptoms mimic that of any traditional allergies. If you look at each mold illness symptom, it does not distinctly point to mold allergy. But mold sickness comes with the following symptoms:
- Memory problems and difficulty with focus
- Sensitivity to light, blurred vision or red eyes
- Muscle aches, cramping, joint pain, ice pick pain
- Persistent nerve pain
- Sinus problems, shortness of breath, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
- Night sweats or difficulty in regulating temperature
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or appetite changes
Read Also: Can Allergies Make You Nauseous
What Can You Do
As well as being uncomfortable, headaches can prevent you from going about your day-to-day life as they make it more difficult to concentrate. However, fortunately there are a few things you can do to ease the severity of the problem.
Apply a warm, damp cloth to the sinuses this should ease any many or discomfort in the area.
Avoid histamine food and drink that contain excessive levels of histamine may exasperate your symptoms so these are best avoided during a flare up of allergic rhinitis. This includes caffeine, alcohol, milk-based products and smoked meat.
Stay hydrated drinking lots of water eases congestion by helping to thin mucus so that it can drain more easily from the nose. It also promotes good blood flow which should minimise the risk of you developing a headache.;
Try steam steam is often used to treat congestion so this should, in turn, help your headache. Warm baths, showers and hot drinks can therefore prove helpful in combatting this problem.
Use a neti pot to help your congestion you may wish to flush your nose with a neti pot which can be obtained from a pharmacy.
Do You Have A Cold The Flu Or Allergies
The above table details the symptom differences between all three conditions.
The common symptoms of a cold, flu and allergies are a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a cough, a headache, or even fatigue. Two differing symptoms are a fever or aches/pain, these would not be caused by allergies, but could be due to a cold or the flu. Symptoms of the flu are often more severe than a cold.
While the symptoms are similar, the origin of the conditions are different. A cold and the flu are both caused by different viruses, whereas allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to a trigger. Common inhalant allergy triggers are pollen, dust, mold, pet dander.
See related: Is it a cold? Or is it Allergies?
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Lets Dive Into A Little More Research Shall We
A clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial conducted in 2010, looked at IgG food sensitivity testing in 30 patients with migraine headaches without aura. Patients were tested for IgG antibodies against 266 food antigens detected via an ELISA blood test. Patients started a regular diet for the first 6 weeks and were then randomised to a 6-week diet either abstaining from or including specific foods with raised IgG antibodies.;Both patients and their doctors were blinded to IgG test results and the type of diet . Primary parameters measured the number of headache days and migraine attack count. Of 30 patients, 28 were female and 2 were male, aged 19-52 years .;
The IgG food reactions tested produced an average of 24 positive IgG food sensitivities out of 266 foods. Results showed a significant reduction in the number of headache days: from 10.5 headache days down to 7.5 headache days with a P < 0.001, and; the number of migraine attacks also reduced from 9.0 days;; down to 6.2 with a P < 0.001 in;the elimination diet period.3
This study shows that diet restriction based on IgG antibody testing & dietary elimination in as little as 6 weeks is an effective strategy in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.;
Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan
If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or may lead to poor asthma control.
Also, a common cold can turn severe. So, if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.
You have a couple options:
Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an allergist or an otolaryngologist if needed.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell.;With;Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.
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How Long Do Sinus Headaches Last
Viruses cause most sinus infections. A viral sinus infection typically resolves on its own. Similar to how the common cold clears up by itself, your sinus headache should feel better within about a week. If it doesnt go away, see your healthcare provider. You may have a bacterial or fungal sinus infection that requires medication.
Are Allergies Triggering Your Migraine Attacks
While allergies can trigger migraine attacks, its also possible that you just have both conditions simultaneously.
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.
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What Is A Migraine
If youre suffering from a migraine attack, youll have a throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head. The pain will range from moderate to severe. The feeling might increase when you try to perform physical activity or are exposed to light and sound. Some migraines can also induce nausea or vomiting as well as sinus pain.
Certain symptoms may tip you off that a migraine is on the way. Those symptoms include:
- Mood changes
- Yawning more often than usual
In addition, symptoms such as vision problems, speech problems, confusion, numbness and tingling of your face or hands can occur just before and during a migraine. These symptoms are called migraine aura.
Migraines seem to be related to levels of chemicals in the brain. Genetic and environmental factors may be behind the condition as people who suffer from migraines have family members who also have them.
If the pain youre experiencing is a migraine, an overly sensitive nervous system is likely the root cause. This means your body reacts too strongly to stimuli, so therefore you might struggle with seasonal allergies too. Allergies lead to inflammation, and inflammation can trigger migraines or make them worse.
For treating a migraine, your doctor might suggest a combination of pain relief and preventative meds, including anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants. Relaxation techniques, staying hydrated, a consistent sleep schedule and working out might help reduce them as well.
Allergies Could Trigger Migraine Attack In A Few Different Ways
It makes sense that allergies could trigger an attack in people who are predisposed to migraine, says Hamilton. If you’re having a lot of allergic symptoms, and you’re having a lot of inflammation in the body, that could make you more prone to migraine attacks in general, she says.
Some experts believe that the histamine release that happens during allergic reactions can potentially also play a role in migraine, she says. There are potential mechanisms that could explain an increased propensity for migraine when you’re having seasonal allergies, says Hamilton.
Histamine is a chemical found in some cells that can be released when a person is allergic to something, and it causes many of the symptoms of allergies. Histamine release may be involved in triggering a headache, specifically migraine, according an article published in March 2019 in The Journal of Headache and Pain.
Allergies may indirectly contribute to migraine by disrupting sleep, says Strauss. If youre very uncomfortable from all this congestion and postnasal drip, that could even be a trigger for headache, she says.
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Start With Some Home Remedies For Cold And Allergy Symptoms
When you start feeling icky, some simple home remedies can provide temporary relief. For starters, try to get more rest. Both allergies and colds can cause tiredness, so listen to your body and take it easy.
Also, take advantage of saltwater to soothe irritated nasal passages and scratchy or sore throats.
For your nose, use a neti pot. A neti pot can be picked up at any local drugstore or online, and typically comes with packets to mix with warm, distilled water to create a saltwater solution to pour through your nasal passages.
For your throat, simply mix a quarter or half teaspoon of table salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Take a sip and gargle for a few seconds like you would with mouthwash. Then spit and repeat until the solution is gone. You can do this a couple times a day.
Allergy Headache Symptoms And Location
As mentioned, an allergy-induced headache might cause pain on the top of your head and on your face.
And because its allergy-related, you might also have some pollen allergy symptoms at the same time, such as a runny nose or stuffy nose and itchy or watery eyes.
Since allergy-induced headaches are primarily associated with migraines and sinuses, youre probably going to have symptoms related to those, too.
Lets break down the symptoms of migraines and sinusitis to help you determine which one may be related to an allergy headache.
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Migraine Sinus Headache And Allergies: What To Know
Spring has sprung! While this means warmer weather and more hours of sunlight, it also means allergy season.
Allergies can cause migraines and sinus headaches for some individuals. Not sure which one you are dealing with? Youre not alone. In fact, migraines are often mistaken for sinus headaches.
Learn how these ailments differ and how allergies can play a role in the severity of each.