Allergy Headaches

By staff

We often focus on certain allergy symptoms, the runny noses, the sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. Sometimes we talk about the general discomfort that comes with allergies. Then there are the food allergy symptoms like itchy mouth and stomach aches, even anaphylaxis, but we don’t talk or even think too much about the headaches associated with allergies.

Many people with food allergies became aware of their allergy after ingesting the food. Some of the symptoms can be hives, swelling and yes, headaches. Usually those that suffer from migraine headaches will be more prone to get them as a symptom if they have a food allergy as well. Of course, avoidance is key to any type of food allergy because more severe reactions can occur.

With hay fever, headaches can occur due to the inflammation in the nasal passages which also bring on the congestion and runny noses. Because certain parts of the face and head are undergoing stress, this can lead to a headache as well. Again, people who suffer from headaches will be more likely to add them to their list of allergy symptoms. If you notice that your headaches are seasonal/environmental, try treating them with an allergy medicine, like Benadryl or Zyrtec, rather than a headache medicine like Tylenol or Advil.

Some experts say that the link to headaches and allergies is controversial and that one does not cause the other. However, there is no question that constant allergies and drainage can lead to sinus problems and infections, which in turn can lead to sinus headaches. From this argument, the symptoms need to be treated separately, focusing on both the allergy and the headache pain (see article on sinus headache at WebMD.com.)  This explains the reason for the production of certain dual medications, like Benadryl Severe Allergy and Sinus Headache Medication.

Another aspect to consider is the fact that migraine symptoms sometimes mimic those of allergies, including congestion. So though it could be a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, it may be worth a trip to your doctor to try to the pinpoint the cause of your headaches. As mentioned above, if the headaches are due to allergies, then you need to take an allergy medicine to block the histamine reaction. If you feel the allergy symptoms are caused from the headaches (especially migraines), you’ll need to seek relief from a headache specific medicine.

Inhalants are often the culprits of headaches, and this isn’t always seasonal. Two common headache inducing inhalants are cosmetic fragrance and smoke. These can also go insofar as to cause nausea (or is this caused by the headache, the big question again?). Though this may not be considered a true allergy, an antihistamine will probably work better for relief than a pain medication, because there is a histamine issue going on here.

As often is the case with headaches, they are a mystery. Those who suffer may often give up on the cause and concentrate on the cure. So whether your headaches can technically be called allergy headaches or not, try an antihistamine next time your pain reliever doesn’t work. Also, keep a headache diary if you can, just like those with food allergies keep food diaries. You may find something that triggers your headaches, whether it’s a certain food, a time of the year or something else inhaled, like perfume or cigarette smoke. You may then be able to determine the trigger and even if you can’t avoid it, you’ll know what medication will work best.

- Heather Legg

3 Comments »

[...] Billy wrote a fantastic post today on “Allergy Headaches”Here’s ONLY a quick extractUsually those that suffer from migraine headaches will be more prone to get them as a symptom if they have a food allergy as well. Of course, avoidance is key to any type of food allergy because more severe reactions can occur. … [...]

October 7th, 2007 | 11:56 am
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January 28th, 2011 | 2:20 pm
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January 25th, 2012 | 1:32 am
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