Allergies and Stress: There Is a Connection

Achoo… cough….snort…! The sounds of allergies are everywhere, it seems. Many of us cannot escape allergies this time of year. According to the American College of Allergy and Immunology, ragweed pollen usually reaches peak levels in mid-September, impacting up to 23 million Americans with allergy symptoms, roughly translating to 20-30 percent of people.

But what you may not know is that allergies can be related to mental health disruption

Allergies increase the amount of stress and discomfort we experience

Most people experience sleep disruption and fatigue with allergies, often feeling worn and tired. Moreover, difficulties with breathing and headaches also make life more challenging. It can be very stressful to cope with work, family, and personal responsibilities when you don’t feel well or when you are tired. As a result, many people with allergies also struggle with motivation, concentration, and job performance, resulting in even more stress.

Conversely, research has found that stress can make allergy symptoms worse

Research suggests that the allergic autoimmune response can be heightened by social stress, even up to a few days later. Also, when people are stressed or run-down, they can be less likely to avoid allergic triggers or take medication properly. Finally, environmental factors, such as neighborhood violence and parental stress levels, can contribute to allergy/asthma severity in children, worsening their symptoms.

What can people with allergies do to help themselves?

Take care of yourself

Allow yourself to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and eat your fruits and vegetables. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, or deprive your body of the care that it needs to stay healthy. If you get depleted at this time, it is possible that you may experience more complications from allergies, like sinus or respiratory infections, or worse.

Move your body

Research has found benefits to exercise for allergy sufferers. If you are triggered by outside allergens, however, you may want to exercise indoors on a treadmill, stationary bike, or with an exercise video.

Work with your health care providers

Talk to your providers to see if allergy medication preventative practices may apply to you. If you are feeling overrun by your allergies, share this with them so they can help you take good care of yourself.

Pay careful attention to your stress

Take time to relax through deep breathing, meditation, or exercise. Additionally, even if you are feeling tired, try to schedule some fun or pleasant activities during your day. Next, notice your thoughts, and feed yourself thoughts of self-compassion and positivity. It is hard to have allergies! Also, connect with others, but pace yourself and maintain a sense of balance during this time. Finally, it is ok to prioritize some important activities, and reschedule some less important ones so you have the rest that you need.

In conclusion, do not be afraid to seek support for your stress or your allergies

Your body is a miraculous machine. When you are struggling physically, it also impacts your brain and emotional health. Luckily, mental health specialists can work with you to learn effective tools techniques to help reduce headaches, pain, and stress. We wish you good health and happy breathing!


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