Are Your Allergies Making You Tired?

Near­ly 30 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion expe­ri­ences sea­son­al aller­gy attacks which cause symp­toms like nasal con­ges­tion, headaches, sneez­ing or cough­ing. Dur­ing an aller­gy flare-up, you may also feel drowsy and have a hard­er time focus­ing on activ­i­ties through­out the day, which is often referred to as brain fog”. Aller­gist, Dr. Andrey Leonov, explains the effect your aller­gies have on your sleep and ener­gy lev­el, and what you can do to min­i­mize symp­toms, includ­ing brain fog.

For many of us, envi­ron­men­tal aller­gens like pollen, mold or dan­der trig­ger an aller­gic response, espe­cial­ly dur­ing peak sea­sons when their counts are at their high­est. Dur­ing an aller­gic reac­tion, inflam­ma­tion often devel­ops espe­cial­ly in your eyes, lungs, sinus­es and throat. Inflam­ma­tion can trig­ger oth­er aller­gy symp­toms includ­ing cough­ing, sneez­ing or headaches, and can pre­vent you from get­ting a good night’s rest. The com­bi­na­tion of a lack of sleep and con­ges­tion often leads to aller­gy-induced fatigue. If inflam­ma­tion devel­ops in your ears, they may not be able to drain prop­er­ly, lead­ing to flu­id build-up. Flu­id in your mid­dle ear can make you feel dizzy, sim­i­lar to hav­ing your head under­wa­ter. The longer you expe­ri­ence aller­gy symp­toms, the more tired you will become, mak­ing school, work and oth­er dai­ly activ­i­ties increas­ing­ly difficult.

The first step to man­ag­ing your aller­gies is to iden­ti­fy which allergen(s) affect you. Once you have deter­mined the cause, an aller­gist can help you devel­op a treat­ment plan that will lim­it your expo­sure to the allergen(s) and alle­vi­ate your symptoms.

If you expe­ri­ence aller­gy-induced brain fog or oth­er aller­gy symp­toms, you can try:

Over-the-counter med­ica­tion:

Your aller­gist can help you to deter­mine which med­ica­tions, includ­ing anti­his­t­a­mines*, may be best for you. Anti­his­t­a­mine med­ica­tions can help to com­bat feel­ings of fatigue by tem­porar­i­ly reduc­ing the amount of swelling in your nasal cavity.

*Cer­tain anti­his­t­a­mines can make you tired, so be sure to select one that is labeled as non-drowsy”.

Aller­gy Shots:

Aller­gy shots, also referred to as immunother­a­py, are con­sid­ered one of the most effec­tive ways to treat chron­ic aller­gy symp­toms. Aller­gy shots intro­duce small amounts of a par­tic­u­lar aller­gen into your body, slow­ly increas­ing the dose over time. This helps to build-up your tol­er­ance to the aller­gen safe­ly over time, mak­ing you less reac­tive to the aller­gen and reduces the sever­i­ty of your symptoms.

Nasal Sprays and Neti Pots:

In some cas­es, using a nasal spray or a Neti pot can pro­vide symp­tom relief by clear­ing out your con­gest­ed nasal pas­sages and reduc­ing the amount of swelling.

Show­ers

Tak­ing a hot show­er before going to bed will wash off any envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants you may have come into con­tact with through­out the day. The steam also opens up your nasal pas­sages, which can help you get a more rest­ful night’s sleep.

Clean­ing

While it may be tempt­ing to open up win­dows as the weath­er gets nicer, you may be let­ting allergen(s) into your home. Aller­gy-proof your home by keep­ing win­dows closed when aller­gen counts are high, espe­cial­ly first thing in the morn­ing, as well as vac­u­um­ing and wash­ing sheets and tow­els regularly.

Whether you’re expe­ri­enc­ing sleep dis­tur­bance, increased swelling or a com­bi­na­tion of the two, aller­gic brain fog is a real phe­nom­e­non. You can get symp­tom relief and reduce aller­gy-fatigue by work­ing with an aller­gist to estab­lish a treat­ment plan that’s best for you. To learn more about our team of board-cer­ti­fied Aller­gy, Asth­ma and Immunol­o­gy physi­cians, vis­it our Aller­gy, Asth­ma & Immunol­o­gy page.

Health Topics:

  • As an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist, I strive to provide my pediatric and adult patients in the Joliet, Naperville and New Lenox communities with the best care possible. Allergies and asthma can have a tremendous impact on your daily life. Whether you’re struggling with chronic sinus symptoms, food allergies or skin rashes, my goal is to work collaboratively with each patient to identify their specific allergens and develop a treatment plan best suited to their individual needs. In order to achieve the best outcomes, it’s essential that patients are included in the decision making process and feel well-informed and comfortable, both with me and their care plan.