Fatigue occurs frequently during bouts of hayfever, often as a side-effect of other symptoms such as congestion, coughing and earache, which can prevent you from getting a good night of sleep. Here, our hayfever advisor Louise Baillie talks about the causes of fatigue and how any hayfever-induced exhausted can be eased using natural and herbal remedies.
Fatigue can be described as a persistent or prolonged feeling of exhaustion. It is a common symptom linked to a variety of medical conditions, such as viral infections like the flu or common cold.
Many people will not immediately associate their feelings of drowsiness with their seasonal allergies, yet hayfever can play a defining role in instigating symptoms of fatigue, either by exhausting our nervous system or disturbing our sleep with relentless side-effects, such as congestion, headaches or itchy coughs.
There are many ways that hayfever can cause fatigue, though the usual culprit is the chemical known as histamine.
Histamine primarily acts as a guardian of sorts for your immune system, protecting it from potential invaders. This is why histamine is stored in areas of the body that are vulnerable to ‘attack’, such as the nose, mouth, our stomach and even your blood. When the immune system identifies pollen as an alien threat, histamine is released in large quantities to fight the potential menace.
This can lead to inflammation when your blood flow is increased to allow infection fighting cells to leak out of our blood vessels, triggering a string of common hayfever symptoms such as congestion, blocked nose, earache or headache.
These unpleasant afflictions then have the potential to disrupt your sleep patterns - it is difficult to wake up in a bright and bubbly mood when you’ve spent the night coughing into your pillow or wondering if you’ll ever be able to stop rubbing your eyes. This rapid outburst of histamine can also exhaust your nervous system.
The adrenal glands produce a hormone known as cortisol, which can limit the level of inflammatory reactions in the body. The more histamine that is released the more the adrenals have to work to compensate, which can place them under a great deal of stress. When the adrenals become fatigued, this can lower your immune system and make you feel more tired than usual.
The final nail in the coffin as far as fatigue and hayfever is concerned is the effect of conventional medicines used for treating hayfever symptoms. The most commonly prescribed anti-histamines are known to cause feelings of drowsiness and lethargy, and normally come with a warning about the associated side-effects. This can then prolong feelings of sleepiness, turning hayfever into a bitter cycle of exhaustion.
Almost everyone is probably familiar with the grogginess that can accompany a bad night of sleep. When you feel tired, you are generally less aware of your surroundings and most of your energy is focused on keeping yourself awake and upright. This can lead to symptoms such as:
Weakened immune system
Fatigue occurs when these feelings of tiredness become more persistent, affecting you on a daily basis. This can be a cause for concern as continuous fatigue can make you more susceptible to viral infections and usually has a negative impact on your general wellbeing, influencing our psychological and physical welfare.
It is important to acknowledge that other hayfever symptoms might be triggering your fatigue, so it is best to try and treat them first but here are a few suggestions about how to combat feelings of tiredness.
Rest: You may be tired of hearing it, but the best remedy for fatigue is to try and get as much rest and relaxation as possible. It is important not to stress your immune system and to allow yourself time to recover, even if it means taking a couple of days off work. Try to unwind before you go to bed by having a relaxing bath, or a hot steamy shower. This can be very soothing for you, but the steam from the hot water might also ease your blocked nose and congestion
Hydration: It is important to drink plenty of fluids (remember tea, coffee and fizzy drinks don’t count!), as dehydration can leave you at risk of developing a UTI and can also exacerbate any feelings of fatigue you may already have
Diet: If your feelings of tiredness are being caused by adrenal fatigue, then it is important to include lots of nutrients in your diet to support your nervous system. These include plenty of foods rich in B vitamins, zinc and vitamin C. It might also be worth taking a magnesium supplement as well to promote good sleep.
When trying to treat your hayfever induced fatigue, you must have an understanding of what it is that is causing your exhaustion. If other hayfever symptoms, such as congestion or coughing are keeping you awake at night, then it would be wise to try and treat them first.
Pollinosan: Renowned Swiss naturopath, Alfred Vogel, conceived a way of trying to treat hayfever symptoms using a variety of tropical herbs. Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets are a licensed medicinal product used to treat all common symptoms of hayfever. You could also try our Luffa Nasal Spray if you are experiencing a blocked or runny nose
Balance Mineral Drink: This fatigue-fighting drink contains magnesium, which is vital for energy levels. It also contains potassium, calcium, vitamin D and zinc to support overall health. Read more about Balance Mineral Drink.
Bronchosan: If it is a cough that is keeping you awake at night, then it might be worth looking into a specific remedy for the type of cough you are experiencing. The Bronchosan Pine Cough Syrup can be used to help relieve a tickly or dry cough
Eyebright: The herb Euphrasia has been used to ease eye problems since the 17th century and can be taken in the form of eye drops. It can alsobe useful if hayfever gives you itchy irritated eyes or allergic conjunctivitis – which can contribute to your tiredness
Vitamin C:Nature-C is our organic vitamin C supplement made using natural fruit extracts. It can be taken to support the immune system during times of stress and is suitable for anyone over the age of 6
Stress relief daytime: If you are feeling overtired and your mood is starting to be affected as a result, then it might be worthwhile trying our natural stress remedy, Stress Relief Daytime. This solution may enable you to cope in difficult or trying situations and might help you to relax if you are feeling tired and tense
Dormeasan: If your hayfever symptoms are constantly disrupting your sleeping pattern then you could try dormeasan, our natural sleep remedy. A non-drowsy solution, dormeasan works to restore a normal sleep cycle and is made using extracts of Valerian and hops. It should not be taken by those who are pregnant though, or those whose medication is affected by alcohol consumption.
Your doctor or pharmacist is more likely to recommend anti-histamines as a first measure against inflammation. If this is what is causing your drowsiness, it might be worth looking into second generation anti-histamines, such as loratadine or cetirizine, which are less likely to cause lethargy and tiredness. Remember to talk to your doctor about any changes you may be experiencing or if your hayfever symptoms are getting worse.
Join today for lots of simple energy-boosting tips and advice from our nutritionist Emma and her team of experts sent to you over 6 days to help revitalise your energy levels, as well as a sample of our Balance Mineral Drink which is packed with energy-boosting minerals.
What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your hayfever symptoms. While anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods can help control your symptoms, foods containing dairy and foods rich in sugar can actually make them worse.