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Allergy Headaches How to Treat Them

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Allergy Testing in Downtown Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Allergies can become tough to handle if they prevent you from participating in full life and fulfilling your responsibilities. Whether they are caused by seasonal allergies or result from an allergic reaction, you will experience varying degrees of pain and other signs that can turn unpleasant if you do not get timely treatment. If you frequently suffer from allergy headaches and over-the-counter medications are not helping, schedule an appointment with a specialist at the Century Medical and Dental Center to get your condition properly diagnosed and treated. The expert allergists use advanced diagnostic equipment to evaluate your symptoms and common triggers to provide quick and lasting relief from the specific discomfort you are going through.

Most people think of sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes when they talk about allergies. While these are definitely the most common symptoms they are not the only ones. Allergies can also result in headaches.

They can be migraine or sinus headaches depending on the type of allergy or the extent of reaction. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever can cause a headache, due to the swelling in the sinus passage.

Allergy Headaches – What Do They Feel Like?

Headaches caused by allergies are usually felt in the spaces within your sinuses. At times you may feel as if your face is hurting, rather than your head, due to the presence of sinuses. You will feel pain in the cheeks that radiates to the jaws and teeth. Sometimes allergy headaches also cause pain on top of the head.

The skull has a series of connected, hollow spaces known as sinuses that are lined with soft tissue and a layer of mucus. The sinuses help humidify and filter the air you breathe and drain the nose. Allergy symptoms often appear in the sinuses, such as when your nose is running and stuffy.

Some of the spaces that make up sinuses are found in:

  • Cheekbones;
  • Forehead;
  • Between or behind the eyes;
  • Behind the nose.

If the sinuses are swollen, or their openings are obstructed you will experience headaches. It often happens during allergies when the swelling and blockage in the sinuses can prevent normal drainage and airflow, causing a buildup of pressure. In some cases, other allergy triggers such as smoke or certain foods can also cause headaches.

Allergy headaches vary in degree. They can be anywhere from dull to almost debilitating pain that leaves you unable to do anything unless you do something for it. The level of pain may also change with your position, such as when you are standing or lying down.

What Triggers Allergy Headaches?

Environmental allergies and food intolerances are closely linked to headaches and migraines. If you suffer from recurring headaches or migraines, you must consult an allergist to get tested for food allergens such as eggs, milk, peanuts, and fish.

Sometimes irritants like smoke or strong scents can also lead to allergy headaches. Common seasonal and year-round allergens such as pollen, mold, and pet dander can cause the body’s immune system to react with a sinus headache, even if you have no other allergy symptoms.

Some common triggers of allergy headaches include:

  • Hay fever;
  • Dust;
  • Pets;
  • Mold;
  • Certain foods;
  • Side effects of certain medications.

How to Treat Allergy Headaches

If your headaches occur from congestion caused by allergies such as fragrances or dust, over-the-counter medications can control the symptoms and manage the pain. You will have to continue taking the allergy medications for as long as you are exposed to the allergens.

There are several different types of over-the-counter medications that can help to treat allergies and allergy headaches. They include:

  • Antihistamines – They block the effects of the chemical histamine, which is responsible for sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose, commonly associated with allergies.
  • Decongestants – They can be either oral or nasal and are the best option for treating nasal congestion that leads to headaches. They relieve the stuffiness and pressure in the sinuses, easing the pressure in your head.
  • Intranasal corticosteroids – They work well for allergic rhinitis and help reduce your nasal congestion and runny nose.

How to Prevent Allergy Headaches

Treatment for Allergy Headaches
Treatment for Allergy Headaches
The only way to avoid or treat allergy headaches is by avoiding triggers whenever possible. If you are not sure about what may be causing these headaches, consider keeping a headache journal for a few days or weeks. It will help to identify potential causes and triggers and work on them to prevent allergy headaches.

Once you have an idea of what is triggering your symptoms, you can make the necessary changes to your home, schedule, or behavior. Depending on the triggers, you may have to modify the way you clean your space, change some of the products you use, even make some changes to your diet, or remove specific plants or odors that set off your symptoms.

If you notice that your allergies and headaches are triggered outside, there are ways to limit your exposure. They include:

  • Staying indoors when triggers like pollen or mold are at their highest or when it is windy;
  • Keeping the windows closed to prevent allergens from entering indoors;
  • Avoid the use of window fans that can spread allergens around the house.

Allergy Headaches Triggered by Indoor Exposure

Sometimes your allergy headaches are triggered by indoor exposure too. Preventative measures include:

  • Proper maintenance and cleaning of air conditioners and furnaces;
  • Regular changing of air filters;
  • Use of allergy-friendly covers for pillows, comforters, mattresses, and box springs;
  • An indoor humidity level between 30 to 50% to discourage mold growth;
  • Properly mopped floor as dry dusting or sweeping can stir up possible allergens;
  • Cleaning your hands and changing clothes after handling animals;
  • Getting hardwood, tiles, or linoleum in your home and removing all carpets to reduce dust and pet dander collection;
  • Avoid the use of products that contain strong fragrances such as scented candles or air fresheners.

Home Care For Allergy Headaches

Avoiding anything that triggers a headache or an allergic reaction is the best way to work on allergy headaches. If the two seem to be linked, treatment combined with homecare can provide fast relief.

You can also relieve symptoms of allergy headaches with the following:

  • Applying a warm, moist washcloth to the face to clear the sinuses;
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to thin any mucus that causes stuffiness and pressure and results in headache;
  • Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water to do away with the distress caused by blocked sinuses.

If your allergy headaches and other symptoms do not seem to be going away and begin to affect your quality of life, schedule an appointment with an allergist. The headache doctor will perform an allergy skin test to evaluate your symptoms and even conduct a sinus CAT scan to determine your sinus condition. He may also recommend stronger prescription medications to manage your allergies and control headaches.

When to See a Specialist for Headaches Caused by Allergies?

Allergies are not a common cause of headaches. It is essential to see a doctor for persistent or recurring headaches if your pain relief medications cannot take care of the problem or the headaches continue to worsen. If over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes fail to cure or stop your allergy headaches, you must consult an experienced physician. Long-term headaches can lead to additional problems associated with nasal allergies, such as sinus infections.

When allergies cause congestion over a significant time, it can eventually lead to sinus blockage that can result in a severe sinus infection. Headaches that accompany nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light or weakness in arms or legs should not be taken lightly, as they may be a sign of some underlying condition. The experienced physician investigates the causes behind the pain and comes up with the most effective solutions to help you feel better as soon as possible.

Allergy headaches or headaches resulting from allergic reactions can be severe and cause considerable discomfort. Throbbing and pain around the sinus area, eyes, redness, runny nose, and pain on the cheekbones can be debilitating and affect your life. Recurring and persistent headaches should not be ignored and you should seek expert medical attention. The expert and board-certified allergists at the Century Medical and Dental Center identify the causes behind these headaches and help you avoid triggers to prevent them from affecting your life. The specialist doctors recommend the right lifestyle changes and medications to provide relief and resolve the issue most effectively.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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