Feeling Achy or Off? 6 Seasonal Allergy Symptoms You Need to Know About

Man with gray t-shirt sitting on bed looking pained and rubbing his temples.

Are you feeling off? Brain fog? Headaches? Tight muscles? Stomach feeling weird? Did you know that it could be due to seasonal allergies?

If you’re a yearly allergy sufferer it could be that your allergy symptoms are getting worse or you may be experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms for the first time when you never did before. You’re not imagining it! All of this is real and researchers at Harvard University say thanks to weather changes there’s more pollen and many more people are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms when they hadn’t before. And don’t be fooled that allergies only happen in the spring. Fall allergies are a thing and some can experience allergies year-round which are known as perennial allergies.  

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, typically show with symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and nasal congestion. However, some people may have nontraditional or less common symptoms. We’ve got a few of these less common symptoms listed below and what you can do to help yourself so you can get back to enjoying the spring weather!

NOTE: It’s always recommended that you first check with your doctor if you’re having any physical symptoms. The below are offered as a suggestion and not a diagnosis. Always call your doctor or healthcare professional first.

  1. Headaches: Allergies can cause headaches and even migraines. These headaches are often felt as pressure, pain, or a throbbing sensation in the temples, forehead, over the eyes and down into the neck area. Over-the-counter pain relievers like as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), can help mild allergy-related headaches. If headaches continue or worsen, seek medical advice.
  2. Sore and tight muscles: It may show as a stiff neck or body aches but seasonal allergies can trigger such a strong immune response that your muscles are affected. You may find it hard to turn your head and your shoulders and upper back or collarbone area are stiff and sore.  
  3. Brain fog: Allergies can sometimes show as brain fog, feeling spacey, trouble concentrating, memory problems, or other related symptoms.
  4. Ear-related symptoms: Allergies can lead to ear symptoms like itching, fullness, mild discomfort or pain, popping sensations, or even mild hearing loss. Over-the-counter antihistamine medications or nasal decongestant sprays may help relieve these symptoms.
  5. Stomach and digestive issues: Some people may experience digestive symptoms like nausea, stomach upset or discomfort, diarrhea, etc. due to seasonal allergies. This can happen because of the body’s immune response affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Make sure to stay hydrated and avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee, sugary soda and alcohol all of which can dehydrate your body.
  6. Feeling Tired: When a person’s body reacts to allergens in the environment the body’s natural response is to kick in the immune system because allergies cause inflammation in the body. When going through allergy season make sure to get enough rest.

Some Tips to Reduce Symptoms

Whether you’ve got typical or atypical seasonal allergy symptoms it’s always wise to reduce your exposure. The following may help!

  • Keep windows and doors closed: When pollen is high it’s wise to keep windows and doors closed to reduce the amount of pollen and allergens from getting inside of your home and vehicles. Check local news and weather apps which often show which days will be the worst.
  • Shower and change clothes after being outside: Pollen gets everywhere so if you’ve been outside shower and change clothes and put all clothing and shoes in an area where you’re not in direct contact ideally washing clothing right away.
  • Don’t forget pets can carry pollen on fur: Your pet can bring in pollen and allergens from outdoors right into your living space or even your bed. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and put directly into the laundry so your four-legged friend doesn’t make your situation worse!
  • Consider allergy meds: Check with your doctor first but many over-the-counter meds for allergy symptoms can reduce your symptoms especially on days where pollen is high.
  • Alternative remedies and therapies: Some people swear by seeing their chiropractor when their allergy symptoms are at their worst, others recommend a spoonful of locally sourced honey (remember to never give honey to children under age one as they could develop botulism). Whatever you choose, always run it by your doctor!
  • Take notes for next year’s allergy season: This might seem obvious but figuring out what your body reacts to the most is a key to planning ahead for next year and hopefully getting ahead of symptoms before they happen. If you find that your symptoms are worst at certain points in the spring or fall, make a note on your calendar so you can plan ahead next year. Whether it’s tree or grass pollen or something else.

It’s important to note that these nontraditional seasonal allergy symptoms can also be associated with other medical conditions so it’s important to consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional for a correct diagnosis and treatment.

Nervous about going to the doctor? We understand! Read our blog Afraid of Routine Health Screenings and Tests? 7 Tips to Reduce Anxiety to help.

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