What you need to know:
- Sinus headaches are often caused by allergens in your enviroment.
- Headaches caused by allergic reactions are easy to prevent and treat.
- If your allergies result in severe reactions such as asthma or eczema, please see a doctor.
Allergies are a huge problem for many people. For many, the symptoms are mild and manageable. But for others, allergies can lead to a wide range of health problems, including asthma, eczema, and sinus headaches. Sinus headaches are among the most common types of allergy headaches.
This phenomenon, called 'allergic rhinitis' or 'hay fever' in humans, causes inflammation inside your nasal cavity. These trigger headaches caused by allergies.
In some cases, the immune system reactions that occur during an allergic reaction can also lead to migraines.
Allergy headaches can be tricky to identify because they often mimic other types such as tension headaches or migraines. However, some key differences can help you determine if allergies indeed cause your headaches.
One of the most tell-tale signs of an allergy headache is that it is often accompanied by other allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing the flicking or rubbing of the tip of the nose, known medically as the atopic salute.
Sinusitis is when the sinuses become congested or infected, and thereafter inflamed, and this swelling can cause pressure on the head and face, leading to a headache. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull.
They produce mucus, which helps trap pollutants and moisten the nasal passages. Inflamed sinuses produce more mucus, which can block the nasal passages and cause pressure in the head.
Sinus headache pain is felt in the forehead, cheeks, nose bridge, and pressure around the eyes.
Allergies are one of the most common triggers for sinus headaches. Other triggers include colds, the flu, and exposure to airborne irritants such as smoke or pollution.
A few key symptoms can help you distinguish a sinus headache from other types of headaches. Sinus headaches are usually throbbing and constant, often worse when you bend over or lie down. In addition, a patient may experience fever, runny nose, and congestion.
Migraine headaches are a type of headache that is characterised by severe pain, usually on one side of the head. Migraines can also be accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
While the exact cause of migraine headaches is still unknown, several possible triggers have been identified.
Migraines may be caused by an allergic reaction to strong perfumes or smoke. In other cases, migraine sufferers may be sensitive to certain foods.
If you suspect that you may be allergic to a particular substance, it is important to avoid exposure to it and see a doctor for further testing. By understanding your migraine triggers, you can take steps to prevent them and minimise your risk of experiencing a migraine attack.
Migraines are also genetic. If you have a family member with migraines, you are more likely to experience them yourself.
Allergy headache treatment
The treatment will focus on clearing the sinuses and reducing the inflammation for sinus headaches. This can be done with a course of antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Antihistamines: These medications work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance released during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines can be taken orally or nasally.
- Anti-inflammatories: These medications work by reducing inflammation. They can be taken orally or topically.
- Decongestants: These medications work by shrinking the blood vessels in the nose and reducing congestion.
Migraine headaches are often treated with a combination of medications. The exact treatment will depend on the individual and the severity of their migraines. Most migraine sufferers will require medication to prevent attacks and to relieve symptoms during an attack.
There are a few things that you can do at home to help relieve sinus headaches and migraines.
- Drinking plenty of fluids for both sinus headaches and migraines is important. This will help to thin the mucus and reduce congestion.
- You can also use a saline nasal spray to help clear the sinuses.
- Avoid the allergens that trigger your headaches. For example, if you are allergic to pollen, stay indoors on days when the pollen count is high. Likewise, if you are sensitive to certain foods, avoid them.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
While allergy headaches can be painful and disruptive, various treatment options are available. By working with a doctor to identify the triggers and causes of your headaches, you can take steps to minimise your risk of experiencing them. In addition, several home remedies can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.