Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you’re experiencing symptoms of allergies or symptoms of a migraine, especially because people with allergies are more likely to have migraines. Knowing which you’re suffering from can help you seek proper treatment. Below we review the similarities and differences between allergy and migraine symptoms, how allergies trigger migraines and how to treat each condition.
Similarities Between Allergies & Migraines
In addition to feeling a throbbing, pain or pressure in the head, the similarities between allergies and migraines include:
- Occurring in response to specific triggers
- Occurring as a result of environmental allergens
- Feelings of nausea
Differences Between Allergies & Migraines
If you have a headache related to allergies, you’ll most likely also experience symptoms such as:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Pressure in the face
If you have a migraine but not allergies, you may experience:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- An aura of unusual sensation, like flashing lights or sounds
- Changes in thoughts or mood
If you experience symptoms from both lists, you may be experiencing both allergies and migraine.
Some people who get migraines are triggered by allergies after spending time at Atlanta’s parks. However, migraines are not actually an allergic response; instead, an allergen triggers neurological changes that lead to migraines.
Research shows that people with allergies are at a higher risk of getting migraines. A 2012 study compared 46 people with allergies to 60 people who did not have allergies and found that 37% of those with allergies had a history of migraines compared to just 5% of those without.
If you have allergies, it’s important to keep symptoms under control, especially if they trigger migraines.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines
- OTC decongestants
- Nasal steroids
- Immunotherapy (shots or drops)
Migraines are treated the same way for people with and without allergies. Some options for treatment include:
- OTC pain medication
- Acute migraine medication
- Anti-nausea drugs
- Lifestyle changes
For more information about the relationship between allergies and migraines or to schedule an appointment with an allergist or neurologist, call ENT of Georgia today.