Allergy headaches, just as the name implies, describe any type of head pain caused by allergies. This pain can be caused directly by allergies, or allergies may trigger a specific type of headache. We review everything you need to know about allergy headaches below.
Types of Allergy Headaches
There are two types of allergy headaches: sinus headaches and migraines.
The sinus cavities are air pockets located behind the cheeks, nose, eyes and forehead. They are lined with mucus, which helps keeps the nasal passages moist and traps dirt and debris.
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, or simply allergies, can trigger inflammation of the sinuses, causing mucus to pool. This trapped mucus can cause a headache.
Other symptoms that can occur alongside a sinus headache include:
- Pain and pressure in the face
- Aching in the teeth or jaw
- Stuffy nose and trouble breathing
A migraine is not simply a bad headache; it is caused by neurological disease and is associated with a variety of other symptoms, such as:
- Pulsing or throbbing, usually on one side of the head
- Extreme sensitivity to light, sound and smell
- Visual disturbance known as an aura
- Nausea and vomiting
The underlying cause of migraines is not known, but they are thought to be associated with a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There are many possible triggers for migraines, but one common one is allergies. In fact, one study found that there is a high prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis compared with those without allergic rhinitis.
Preventing Allergy Headaches
The best way to prevent allergy headaches is to get your allergies under control. There are three main strategies for this: practicing avoidance of known allergens, taking medications and undergoing immunotherapy.
The first step in practicing avoidance is to learn exactly what you’re allergic to through an allergy test. Once you undergo an allergy test, you can practice avoidance by:
- Using allergy-proof covers on mattresses, duvets and pillows.
- Regularly dusting and vacuuming.
- Keeping pets out of bedrooms.
- Bathing pets regularly.
- Keeping your home dry and well-ventilated.
- Staying indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Showering and changing clothes right away after spending time outside.
- Installing a portable HEPA filter in your home.
Talk to your pharmacist at Atlanta Compounding Pharmacy about what medications are available for allergies and how often they can be taken safely. Some options include:
- Steroid nasal sprays
Immunotherapy is a long-term allergy solution that works by desensitizing you to allergens over time. There are two types available: allergy drops and allergy shots. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call ENT of Georgia North today.