Common Allergies and Why They Trigger Sinus Headaches
There are quite a few different sinus headache triggers, including seasonal changes, pressure changes, certain foods, and allergic reactions. Allergies can have a profound effect on the body, and some allergies are more common than others.
Not only is it challenging to live with allergies, but allergies can even make other health conditions worse.
The purpose of this article is to describe the most common allergies that people experience and explain the connection between allergies and sinus headaches. It will also address how to find an effective allergy treatment while treating a sinus headache and prevention methods to avoid allergy triggers that lead to sinus headaches.
The Most Common Allergies
Although people can become allergic to practically anything, certain allergens are more problematic than others. It is estimated that at least 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies3, which are brought on when the immune system misinterprets a something harmless as something dangerous.
Especially in the summer and fall, grasses, weeds and mold spores can cause allergic reactions. Dust mites and pet dander are also common triggers for those with allergies.3
The Connection Between Allergies and Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches and migraines are both linked to allergies because allergens cause a histamine release resulting in inflammation in the sinuses. It is possible that constant blockages in the sinus passages due to allergic reactions can lead to sinus headaches by causing excess pressure in the head. A debilitating headache with throbbing pain on one side of the head and sensitivity to light is most likely a migraine. When migraine headaches are triggered by allergies, sinus drainage tend to be clear. However, an allergy headache can also cause localized pain in the sinus region that is widespread over the forehead, cheeks, and face. This is usually not debilitating and people can often function. True sinus headaches tend to be associated with sinusitis and thick, colored, or pus-like mucus.2
Allergy Treatment and Sinus Headache Treatment
Since allergies can make sinus headaches occur more often in people who are prone to them, it is advised to see an allergist to prescribe medications to keep allergies under control. Common options for treatment include decongestants, corticosteroids and antibiotics. This may be enough of a treatment to treat sinusitis and then keep frequent sinus headaches at bay. It is also important to be properly diagnosed for problematic allergens so that they can be specifically avoided as much as possible. Immunotherapy is an option when these other treatments aren’t enough.1
Prevention Tips for Allergy Headache Sufferers
During certain times of year, it may be necessary to stay indoors more often to avoid allergen triggers, such as pollen and ragweed. It is also a good idea to wear sunglasses while outdoors to prevent allergens from entering the body through the eyes. In the house, allergy sufferers should keep the humidity low and clean damp parts of the home frequently to reduce potential exposure to mold and other allergens. Many environmental allergens cannot be avoided, so it is recommended to have antihistamines, nasal decongestants, and intranasal corticosteroids available. Allergy shots and at-home treatments, such as steam inhalation and nasal saline solution, work well for many allergy sufferers who feel sinus pain and pressure as well.1
References for Common Allergies and Why They Trigger Sinus Headaches
2. American Migraine Foundation. Sinus Headaches. Retrieved on August 28, 2019 from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/sinus-headaches/.
3. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergy Facts and Figures. Retrieved on August 28, 2019 from https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/.
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