Crisp leaves. Trees changing colors. Pumpkin spice lattes. And achoo!
A — choo!
Ah, yes. Fall’s here. Also known as allergy season for many people.
If the change of seasons brings sneezes, congestion and sinus headaches, this blog is for you.
Fall and Allergies
What are your fall allergies?
Pollen. Mold. Dust mites. Dog dander. Tree pollen. Grass pollen. Cat hair. Mold spores.
All these things can cause seasonal allergies.
And they all have one thing in common: They’re airborne.
So if you’ve got a stuffy nose or itchy eyes during the autumnal season, chances are that something in the air has made you sick.
When you’re exposed to an allergen, your sinuses react in response to the irritant. The result is inflammation, which causes swelling and irritation.
This leads to more mucous production, which makes breathing even harder.
It also increases blood flow to the nasal passages, causing them to swell further.
In addition to being annoying, this can lead to a runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, cough and fatigue.
Headaches From Allergies
Headaches are very common during the fall and winter months and can make life less fun when you’re supposed to be enjoying pumpkin season. An allergy headache may feel like:
- A dull ache behind the eyes
- Sinus pressure
- Pulsing pain at the top of the head
- Sharp, throbbing pain on one side of the head and/or facial pain
- Pain that spreads from ear to ear
- Pounding sensation in the forehead
- Pressure around the temples
- Difficulty concentrating
You may also experience allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, drainage/runny nose and a cough.
Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
There are many natural remedies for seasonal allergies.
Here are some of our favorites:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is great for clearing up congestion caused by seasonal allergies. It helps break down mucus in the lungs and sinuses. Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of warm water and drink twice daily.
Hot compresses help relieve nasal congestion and reduce itching. Place a hot washcloth over your face and leave it there for 10 minutes.
Echinacea is known for its immune-boosting properties. It’s often used to treat the common cold and upper respiratory infections. Echinacea tinctures are available at most health food stores.
Peppermint oil relieves congestion and soothes irritated skin. Mix 2 drops of peppermint oil with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and apply to your chest and back.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is another popular remedy for seasonal allergies. Use lavender oil diluted in a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) to massage into the neck and shoulders.
When Natural Remedies Don’t Work for Allergy Headaches
What happens when these natural remedies don’t work for your allergy- and sinus-related head pain?
If you find yourself suffering from severe allergy headaches, try over-the-counter or prescription medications like antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids.
Some patients also report that they can reduce their allergy symptoms with allergy shots.
Also, if you can avoid your exposure to allergens this season, that will help considerably reduce your allergy headaches and potential for sinus infections.
What If It’s More Than Allergies
If you’re experiencing head pain with a runny nose, itchy throat and sneezing, it is likely allergies. But if you’re having other symptoms, it may be more. It may be a migraine.
Signs of a Migraine
A migraine is an attack of intense, usually unilateral head pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes vision changes.
Migraines are not just about headaches. They affect every part of the body.
They can last anywhere from four hours to three days.
What Causes Migraines?
The exact cause of migraines is unknown. However, these types of headaches have been linked to stress, hormonal changes, dehydration, lack of sleep, diet and certain drugs.
Another cause of migraines is jaw problems. Jaw misalignments and TMJ disorders can contribute to migraines.
The good news is that migraines are preventable.
To prevent migraines, follow these tips:
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid stress
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Try relaxation techniques
- Take preventive medicine
For more information on how to prevent migraines, visit www.migraineprevention.com or give us a call now.