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Pollen, Pets

All Stuffed Up from Pollen Allergies

The pollen’s out and once again you’re congested and bleary-headed. Do you get a few allergy symptoms or the whole enchilada?

HEADACHE

Allergies cause fluid to build up in the sinuses, putting pressure on the nerves in the area. This can lead to a headache directly above the eyes. The pain is different for each person, and can come on suddenly or gradually.

SLEEPINESS

Fluid in the sinuses puts pressure on the brain, sometimes resulting in fatigue, says Dr. Paul Ehrlich, a pediatric allergist based in New York. Other  reasons for daytime fatigue? A lack of nighttime sleep, caused either by your congested nose which makes it difficult to breathe or a decongestant medication containing pseudoephedrine, which is a stimulant and can keep you awake. Some antihistamines have a sedative effect and can make you feel tired during the day. Finally, hay fever sufferers can become overtired from constantly fighting the body-wide reaction.

IRRITABILITY

Usually caused by that lack of sleep, irritability is an under-recognized but very real
symptom of hay fever, says Vancouver allergist Dr. Donald Stark. Another cause: times of high stress often coincide with the different allergy seasons – and the convergence of the two would make anyone grouchy. For example, students’ final exams in June are at the height of grass pollen season, and back to school in September coincides with the start of ragweed season.

Next page: Aggravated eyes, nose, ears and cheeks

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Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.