What are allergy symptoms?
In the short-term, allergies occur when the body reacts to a certain substance which it perceives to be harmful, even though it isn't. When your immune system reacts in this way it can cause inflammation to your skin, airways, sinuses or digestive system, resulting in unwanted symptoms such as swollen eyes, tingling in the mouth, itchy skin and coughing.
There are a variety of other symptoms, however, which are not as well-known and which you may be unaware are the result of an allergic reaction, such as:
1. Nose bleeds
3. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
4. Stomach ache
5. Mood changes
Read on to find out more about why these symptoms occur, and get some tips to help manage them.
1. Nose bleeds
If you come into contact with an allergen, your body releases histamine which causes the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction. If any of the blood vessels in your nose become over dilated, as a result of persistent histamine production, this can cause tissue fragility than easily leads to a nose bleed.
In addition, many factors associated with an allergic reaction can dry out your nostrils, which also increases the likelihood of suffering from a nose bleed. For instance, inflammation, the use of allergy medications such as decongestants, antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays, and frequent nose blowing can all cause the tissue in your nostrils to crack and bleed.
If your allergies often give you nose bleeds, it is important that you avoid touching the insides of your nostrils as much as possible, as this can damage the dry tissue and lead to more bleeding. Swabbing your nose gently at night with a saline solution may help to keep your nose moist and avoid the skin becoming damaged. A great product to consider may be our Sinuforce Dry Nose Nasal Spray. It contains hyaluronic acid which moisturises nasal tissue and supports healthy nasal mucosa to help prevent nose bleeds.
It is important to note that, if you are unable to stop a nosebleed on your own, or if it lasts longer than 20 minutes, you should see a doctor immediately.
Allergies can leave you feeling exhausted for two different reasons. Firstly, many allergies cause congestion which can impair your ability to breathe properly. If you're suffering from a blocked nose and a stuffy head, you may find it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
In fact, in one study of over 3800 allergic rhinitis sufferers, only 3.6% of participants said that they slept well and felt that they had got enough sleep.1 If you suffer from allergies often, your quality of sleep may be very poor, and this, of-course, may leave you feeling highly fatigued during the day.
Secondly, allergic reactions can actually cause your body to release chemicals which make you feel tired. The production of histamine, as previously discussed, triggers inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation is associated with many progressive ailments.
As well as this direct effect, histamine production and inflammation can increase mucus production and cause swelling in the nostrils, making allergy symptoms worse. As noted above, this can have a detrimental effect on your sleep.
Using a nasal spray may help to reduce swelling in the nasal mucous membranes, and clear out allergens from the nose which are causing the reaction. If you are struggling with fatigue, our Pollinosan Luffa Nasal Spray may be a beneficial product for you to try! It rinses the nostrils of allergens and makes your nose feel soothed and more comfortable, hopefully allowing for a better sleep.
3. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Tinnitus is the name given for hearing noises such as ringing or buzzing, or feeling a throbbing sensation in the ears. Excess mucus produced during an allergic reaction can increase pressure in the ear and make it feel clogged. For some people, this inflammation and excess mucus creates tinnitus.
In those who already suffer from tinnitus, their symptoms may worsen - for example, the ringing sound in the ears may be louder and more intense. These sounds may occur in one ear or both ears, or in your head. They may be intermittent, or you may hear them all the time, specifically during a bad bout of allergic reactions.
There are some lifestyle tips you can try to ease your tinnitus symptoms. The NHS suggests using relaxing techniques such as deep breathing or yoga, improving sleep by sticking to a bedtime routine, cutting down on caffeine, and using steam inhalations.2
4. Stomach ache
You may be aware that food allergies can cause unwanted digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps. This, again, is due to histamine production in the body which effects the digestive system.
You may be unaware, however, that the excess mucus blocking your nose and lingering in your throat may also lead to an upset stomach. If there is excess mucus in your nose, this can result in a postnasal drip, whereby the mucus drops down your throat into your stomach. An accumulation of mucus in the stomach can not only lead to stomach ache, but may also cause a loss of appetite and nausea.
This may be even worse in the mornings, when the mucus has had time to build up during the night. If your allergies do make you feel nauseous, these lifestyle tips may help:
- Get plenty of fresh air
- Take sips of a cold drink such as iced water
- Eat foods containing ginger, such as ginger biscuits
- Avoid spicy, fried and strong-smelling foods
- Avoid wearing clothes that are tight around your waist.
5. Mood changes
Ongoing symptoms causing a person to feel unwell or resulting in a lack of sleep may provoke mood disorders such as anxiety and low mood, or may exacerbate the symptoms of an existing disorder.
Many doctors believe there is a correlation between allergies and mood. One study by The American Journal of Epidemiology found that those suffering from allergies are almost 50% more likely to experience low mood than those who don't.3 Allergy sufferers will often present with symptoms such as sadness, lethargy and fatigue, which can all be observed in those with low mood.
Those who already suffer from low mood may find their symptoms are heightened, and this, combined with sleep disturbance, may result in feelings of irritability and grogginess. It is also believed that side effects from allergy medications can contribute to irregular sleep patterns and decreased performance levels at school and work, leading to feelings of disappointment.
Debilitating allergy symptoms may also decrease brain function. Research has shown that allergic reactions may slow the speed of cognitive processing, resulting in symptoms such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating and brain fog.4 However, it is unclear whether this is a direct effect of the allergic reaction, or whether this is due to the associated sleep deprivation which can occur.
In addition, children may be particularly susceptible to behavioural upsets because their bodies are more sensitive. Children who suffer badly with allergies may be more prone to tantrums and have difficulties getting to sleep which, in turn, affects their cognitive function.
Once you get your allergy symptoms under control, this should have a positive effect on your mood. However, if you have extreme low mood or feel like your mood is getting worse, it is very important to visit your doctor and discuss this properly. Medical professionals generally have the opinion that allergies aren't the best diagnosis for low mood, and deeper emotional concerns shouldn't be attributed to them.
If your allergies cause your sinuses to feel congested, there's a chance you may suffer from allergy-related dizziness as well. Excess mucus produced during an allergic reaction may result in your Eustachian tube becoming blocked.
The Eustachian tube is a tunnel that connects your middle ear to the back of your throat and helps to regulate balance by controlling the pressure in your ear. When this tube becomes blocked, it can no longer control pressure as efficiently, and this can cause your balance to be altered.
If mucus continues to build up in the middle ear, this can develop into allergy-induced vertigo. Vertigo is an extreme form of dizziness that can cause you to feel as though you are moving, even though you are standing still, or make you see the room as though it's spinning.
If you suffer from allergy-related dizziness, it is important to treat the root cause rather than treating the dizziness only. If you have a blocked nose, our Pollinosan Hayfever tablets can help to reduce congestion which may help to decrease mucus build-up in the ears.
It may also be beneficial to check out your diet. If you regularly have dizzy spells, you may have an intolerance to dairy, gluten, wheat, or other food products. Dairy products can also promote mucus production in some people, which, when combined with an intolerance, may exacerbate symptoms. Your doctor can monitor you for signs of intolerance, so it is important to visit your local GP if you feel you may have this, or if your dizziness is prolonged and is interfering with your daily life.
Other possible symptoms
Amongst those discussed, there are several other symptoms which can occur as a result of allergies, including:
• Sensitive teeth
• Loss of sensory functions (taste, smell, hearing)
• Itchy rash
• Blisters, hives or black spots on the skin
• Upper respiratory tract infections
• Bloating and other IBS symptoms
• Joint pain.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed, it is advisable that you consult with your doctor to confirm that allergies are the root cause, and to rule out any underlying health conditions.
What you said!
We recently ran a poll to find out which unsual allergy symptoms you have experienced. We've crunched the numbers and here are the results.
Results: Which unusual allergy symptoms have you experienced?
41.7% of you said that you have experienced fatigue due to an allergy. If you suffer from fatigue, make sure that you are getting enough rest, and, perhaps, try boosting your energy levels by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.