An introduction to hayfever and excessive sweating
Excessive sweating can be considered an unusual hayfever symptom and one that is not often discussed. Abnormal perspiration can occur when your sweat glands become inflamed or are activated by hormones such as adrenalin.
This can happen during hayfever, especially when you consider the toll that hayfever symptoms can exact on your adrenal glands and nervous system.
For example, symptoms such as earache can cause acute pain, stimulating your sympathetic nervous system - the part of your body responsible for your 'flight or fight' instincts- triggering a rush of inflammatory chemicals like adrenalin which ultimately causes you to sweat more.
This is because adrenalin is a type of catecholamine hormone produced in the adrenal glands and when your sympathetic nervous system is activated, adrenalin causes blood to be redirected towards all your major organs. When this happens, you start to sweat more as your body is anticipating that you are about to engage in physical activity.
In fact, often excessive sweating can be caused by stress, pain or when your immune system is vulnerable - all factors which can occur in hayfever.
Pain and sweating
People with hayfever may experience acute earache or sore throats. Pain is somewhat of a red flag for our immune system and so adrenaline is produced to help us cope with our discomfort, which can lead to us sweating excessively.
Another cause of sweating can be blocked sinuses leading to sinus headaches. Blocked sinuses can become infected and one way our immune system fights infection is by increasing our body temperature. This can lead to hot sweats, dizziness and exhaustion.
If you become feverish while suffering from hayfever then it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Stress and sweating
Another common cause triggering a rush of adrenalin into your systems is stress.
The relationship between stress and hayfever can be described as a vicious cycle, and it is not always apparent whether the physical symptoms precede the psychological condition. What is known is that stress can exacerbate your hayfever symptoms, and that it is a common occurrence in hayfever sufferers, with an estimated 71% of patients with severe symptoms reporting higher stress levels.1
This is not surprising when you think about it. Hayfever symptoms can disrupt your sleeping patterns, making you feel fatigued, dizzy and generally unable to cope with the stresses of everyday life.
It is also possible that you could become so anxious about your hayfever symptoms that it could trigger a chemical reaction, releasing a wave of adrenalin that ccould make you feel jittery, more on edge, and sweatier. Symptoms such as chest tightness can also instigate a rush of adrenalin as any tightness in the chest can make you more conscious of your breathing.
If it is the case that stress exaggerates persisting hayfever symptoms, then this can make you feel even more anxious, erupting into a cycle of stress and sweat.
Adrenal fatigue and sweating
The adrenal glands are another important factor to consider when discussing the causes of excessive sweating in hayfever. During hayfever, your system is often flooded with the chemical histamine, which acts as an inflammatory agent. To counter this chemical, the adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol, which counteracts the inflammatory effects of histamine.
However, sometimes the adrenal glands simply cannot keep up with the body’s production of histamine, causing them to become fatigued. When your adrenals become fatigued this can lead to a whole host of problems, from sleep disruption to mild depression to perspiring excessively without having exercised.
Other causes of excessive sweating
Despite the many triggers that are present when you are suffering from allergic rhinitis, excessive sweating still remains a rare symptom of hayfever. If you find that you are sweating abnormally, it is worth considering whether or not you are suffering from another medical condition.
- Hyperhidrosis: This is a common health complaint that does not have a definitive cause, though it can be linked to a variety of conditions such as menopause, low blood sugar or anxiety. It is normally treated using powerful antiperspirant deodorants or avoiding trigger foods such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or spicy foods
- Menopause: If you are a woman of a certain age then it is possible that your sweats are not being caused by your seasonal allergies. The hormonal changes that occur when women go through the menopause can often result in sudden hot flushes or cold sweats. These are treatable using a variety of herbal and conventional medicines
- Poor diet and lifestyle: It has been shown that what you eat can having an astonishing effect on your body. Consuming vast quantities of caffeinated beverages such as coffee can over-stimulate your nervous systems, leading to irritability, increased heart rate and excessive sweating. Nicotine also has a negative impact on your system, stimulating our sweat glands, as well as wreaking havoc on your lungs and immune system
- Medication: Some medicines, such as antidepressants or diabetes medication, can cause you to sweat more so it might be worth evaluating what medicines you are taking, and speaking to your doctor about any available alternatives.
When treating excessive sweating it is important to consider what is causing the condition. In hayfever, the triggers of excessive sweating are often linked with persistent symptoms that can cause pain or stress, such as ear ache, sinus headaches, fatigue, and coughing. The best course might be to first address the hayfever symptoms that are causing abnormal perspiration.
- Relax: If you are feeling stressed or anxious, then try to get as much relaxation as possible. You could try out some simple breathing exercises or you could practice yoga or mediation to calm your body and mind. This should enable you to cope with the symptoms of hayfever and reduce the bursts of adrenalin inflaming your sweat glands
- Inhaling steam: A common remedy for relieving ear and nose congestion is to inhale steam. This softens and thins the mucus membranes lining the passages of the ears, nose and throat. You can do this by having a hot, steamy shower or be holding your head over a bowl of sweltering water. It is important to take care and to avoid getting burned by the steam
- Drink plenty of water: Another home remedy that is essential to remember is to drink plenty of fluids. If you are sweating excessively, then you are losing fluid which needs to be replenished. Not only that, but dehydration can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and dizziness, again triggering a response from your nervous system. You should be drinking between 8-10 glasses of water a day as this will also help to thin the mucus congesting your ear and nose passages
- Honey and lemon: A warm drink of honey and lemon can also work to soothe any irritation in your throat and to ease your cough.
There are also some helpful dietary tips that can help you restore life to your adrenals, relieving any symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
There are a number of herbal remedies specifically aimed at reducing the symptoms of hayfever.
- Pollinosan: Pollinosan Tablets contain seven different types of herbs devised to target common hayfever symptoms. It is a medicinally licensed product and can be used in conjunction with Pollinosan Luffa Nasal spray, which is aimed at cleansing the nasal passages of hayfever causing allergens
- Stress relief daytime: If you are struggling to deal with stress then it might be worth trying our natural remedy Stress Relief Daytime, which has a calming effect on the nervous system and contains extracts of Valerian and Hops
- Salt of the Earth: It might also be worthwhile trying our range of Natural Deodorants if you are starting to feel self-conscious about your body odour. Our deodorants are anti-bacterial, perfume free, and perfectly suitable to use alongside our other herbal treatments.
If you decide to go to your doctor about your excessive sweating then it is likely that they will also look at treating your hayfever symptoms first.
- Anti-histamines: The most common conventional way of tackling hayfever is to take anti-histamines. These can be bought over the counter but some anti-histamine medications can cause feelings of drowsiness and light-headedness, so it is important to steer clear of driving and operating heavy machinery
- Steroid medication: If anti-histamines don’t work, then your doctor might prescribe you steroids to take. Any steroid based medications should not be taken for more than ten days, other ways they can trigger a whole host of unpleasant side-effects.
Finally, your doctor might prescribe you a strong antiperspirant deodorant which might potentially irritate the sensitive skin under your arms.