What should i take for allergy headache

American Rhinologic Society

Through research, education, and advocacy, the American Rhinologic Society is devoted to serving patients with nose, sinus, and skull base disorders. Their website’s thorough coverage of sinus-related issues includes rarer conditions, such as fungal sinusitis, which are often excluded from other informational sites. It also provides a valuable search tool to discover a doctor, as well as links to other medical societies and resources that are useful for patients.

Cleveland Clinic

Their website contains an exhaustive guide on sinusitis and an easy-to-use «Find a Doctor» search tool.


ENThealth provides useful information on how the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) are all connected, along with information about sinusitis and other related illnesses and symptoms, such as rhinitis, deviated septum, and postnasal drip.

As part of the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, this website is equipped with the ability to assist you discover an ENT specialist in your area.

We can every consent that separately, both headaches and allergies are The Worst. And if you’re one of the "lucky" folks who starts dealing with both as soon as spring rolls around, you know that combined, headaches and allergies are love a distress superweapon. But allergy season coincides with the start of warmer weather, and temperature changes always give me headaches, too, so I was curious if the headache-allergies overlap was coincidental, or if allergies really can cause headaches.

What should i take for allergy headache

Luckily, Dr. Susan Hutchinson, a migraine expert and medical advisor to MigraineX, was capable to provide some insight. It turns out that yes, allergies can totally cause headaches — and there are some beautiful certain signs that will tell you whether your headache is allergy-related, or whether it’s a type of migraine, or even just a plain (though of course still painful) headache, and knowing how to differentiate between types of headaches can assist you get yourself the best treatment possible.

According to Hutchinson, the difference between a seasonal allergy-related headache versus a tension headache or a migraine is that "a seasonal allergy-related headache would most likely be associated with sneezing, congestion, and/or ocular itching," she tells Bustle.

What should i take for allergy headache

If you’re not seeing an increase in these symptoms with your head pain, you may own a non-allergy-related migraine or headache.

Hutchinson also tells Bustle that allergy-related headaches "would be expected to reply to over-the-counter antihistamines" including favorite allergy medications as well as nasal steroid sprays "such as Flonase or Nasacort."

By contrast, something love a tension headache "typically does not own congestion symptoms or a season variation," generally occurs in periods of high stress, and "is characterized by a tight band around the head, mild to moderate discomfort, no nausea, no sensitivity to light, and no congestion/allergy symptoms," Hutchinson explains.

With allergy-related headaches, you should expect to own periods of no headaches when your allergies are at their least virulent, she adds.

She also notes that migraines differ from both regular headaches and from allergy-related headaches. She calls migraines "a chronic disabling disease characterized by attacks of moderate to severe headache, nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, and if untreated, can final 48-72 hours." If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your headache is likely not allergy-related, and is in fact a whole diverse beast from headaches in general.

But even if you don’t get a headache directly from your allergies, you can get a headache from other symptoms of allergies, love "excessive coughing or sneezing," Hutchinson says.

She cautions, though, that if you’re noticing an "exertional headache" for more than a few days while you’re not feeling well, you should check in with your healthcare provider, since an exertional headache "could represent an underlying more serious problem such as an aneurysm or brain tumor or increased intracranial pressure."

Hutchinson also notes that weather-related headaches tend to worsen around the same time as seasonal allergies do.

As someone who deals with weather-related headaches every spring, I always hold an icy face mask or three in my freezer, just waiting for the change in air pressure to make my sinuses ~real mad~. While weather headaches obviously are not allergy-related, it’s significant to know how to manage them too, since they can happen at the same time of year.

Hutchinson recommends MigraineX ear pressure regulating ear plugs for people who struggle with headaches caused by barometric pressure changes. And for general headache and migraine management, she says it’s a excellent thought to hold a headache diary to "watch for patterns to best identify headache triggers." Common headache migraine triggers include "weather/changes in barometric pressure, stress, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, food additives/preservatives, and poor lifestyle," she says, and knowing what your triggers are can assist you avoid them — and avoid headaches.

Allergy season is beautiful much always terrible, but with management of both your allergies and the headaches that can come along with them, you can get through it with as little pain as possible.

Author: Vincent T.

Martin, MD, Co-director of the Headache & Facial Pain Middle at the University of Cincinnati

Spring is a welcomed change in seasons, especially for people who endure frigid winters and copious snowfall. But for the percentage of people living with migraine who also experience allergies, asthma or hay fever, it’s a time of year when headaches tend to increase and are accompanied by the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Here’s what we know about the connection between migraine, hay fever, asthma, allergies, and the treatment options currently being used to manage them.

What is hay fever and how is it diagnosed?

The medical term for hay fever is allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when a patient develops symptoms of runny nose, post nasal drip and nasal congestion upon exposure to an allergen. An allergen is something in the environment to which you are allergic such as tree pollen, mold, cat hair, dog hair or dust. To firmly establish the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, one must own the above mentioned symptoms upon exposure to the allergen and also own a positive allergy test to that allergen. Allergy testing can take one of two forms: skin prick testing and blood tests.

With skin prick testing, an allergist puts minute quantities of allergen on the tip of a needle and then he/she pricks your skin with the needle. A positive response requires that a certain degree of redness and swelling of the skin occurs in the region of the skin prick. In addition, blood tests can be performed to identify an allergen.

What is asthma and how is it diagnosed?

Asthma is a disease in which your airways constrict intermittently and you become short of breath.

Its diagnosis can be established by pulmonary function testing, a specialized lung test in which you blow into a tube and a technician will record the volume of air that is exhaled before and after receiving inhaled asthma medications that dilate a person’s airways. Persons with asthma will own a reduced volume of exhaled air before the asthma medication, and normal amounts of exhaled air after the asthma medication. The “reversibility” of airway constriction before and after istration of asthma medications is necessary to firmly establish a diagnosis of asthma.

How are allergies related to asthma?

Approximately 70% of persons with asthma own one or more allergies found in allergy testing.

Allergies do not cause asthma, but represent an significant trigger factor for attacks of asthma. Exposure to allergens creates inflammation in your lungs that can increase constriction of the airways.

What causes allergies and asthma?

The cause of allergies and asthma is “in part” genetic and “in part” environmental. A genetic predisposition to allergies and asthma is often passed from one generation to another. However, environmental factors are also significant. In the past it was thought that “over exposure” to allergens might predispose to development of these disorders, but recent studies own demonstrated that “under exposure” to allergens during childhood might lead to more allergies.

This is called the “hygiene” theory of allergies.

Are hay fever and asthma related to migraine?

Numerous studies own found that migraine is more common in those with hay fever and asthma. One study found that migraine occurred in 34% of persons with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) as compared to 4% of those without this disorder.1 Asthma is 1.2-1.6 times more prevalent in those with migraine than in those without it.2-5

If one has migraines and hay fever or asthma, then the frequency of migraine attacks are increased.

Headache attacks were 14-28% more frequent in those with migraine and hay fever than in those with migraine alone.6 Persons with episodic migraine (less than 15 days per month with headache) and asthma are 2.1 times more likely to develop chronic migraine (greater than 15 days per month with headache) one year later than those with episodic migraine alone.7

Where is the location of headaches that are related to hay fever or sinus disease?

We don’t know the specific location of headaches related to hay fever, but one study did describe the location of headaches in those with chronic rhinosinusitis, which is a endless standing infection of the sinuses.8 The headaches were located in the regions of the sinuses including the forehead, between and around the eyes and cheekbones.

What should i take for allergy headache

The headaches had a mild to moderate intensity, were generally located on both sides of the head and resembled tension-type headaches.

How might hay fever and asthma predispose to migraine?

There are numerous ways that these disorders could increase the frequency of migraine attacks. First, increased inflammation caused by these disorders might increase migraine. Second, nasal congestion caused by hay fever could directly activate the trigeminal nerve in the nose and trigger migraine. Also, it might cause snoring that could lead to sleep apnea that could precipitate headaches.

What should i take for allergy headache

Third, use of asthma medications such as albuterol might trigger attacks of migraine. Fourth, both hay fever and asthma activate nerves in the parasympathetic nervous system. It is possible that activation of these nerves increases migraine frequency.

Can hay fever medications assist your migraine?

We really don’t know the answer to this question because there own been no studies of these therapies in persons with migraine. However, there own been studies in persons with rhinitis to determine if sinus pain and/or headache improve with these therapies. One study found that steroid nasal sprays decrease the severity of sinus pain in persons with hay fever.9 Another found that capsaicin nasal spray (a substance found in boiling chili peppers) decreased the severity of headache in those with non-allergic rhinitis, which is a form of rhinitis triggered by non- allergic triggers (perfumes, cigarette smoke).10

Montelukast is an oral therapy used to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis.

What should i take for allergy headache

Uncontrolled studies suggested that it was effective in the treatment of migraine.11,12 However, a randomized controlled trial found it to be ineffective as a preventative therapy for migraine.13 This study was conducted in migraine patients irrespective of whether they had allergies or not. It is unknown if the results would own differed if it had been conducted in those with migraine and allergies.

We performed a study in younger persons with migraine and found that the istration of allergy shots were associated with 52% reduction in the frequency of migraines as compared to those that did not get allergy shots.14 However, this study did not randomize patients to allergy shots or placebo, and therefore these results will need to be confirmed in future studies before definitive conclusions can be reached about this therapy.

What is our clinical approach to the migraine patient with allergies, hay fever or asthma?

It is extremely common for patients to own both migraine and symptoms of rhinitis. In fact, one study found that 67% of every persons with migraine had symptoms of rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, post nasal drip, itchy nose).6 If patients with migraine also own rhinitis symptoms, we treat them with medications to treat this disorder, which include nasal steroids and oral/nasal antihistamines.

This may assist the rhinitis symptoms as well as any sinus pain/pressure they may be experiencing, but it is unknown if these therapies will decrease the frequency of migraine headache.

Allergy shots are an significant therapy to reduce the frequency of allergy symptoms. We do not specifically recommend allergy shots for persons with migraine who own allergies, but we do tell our patients that uncontrolled studies propose that allergy shots may be associated with a reduced frequency of migraine in individuals less than 45 years of age. Ultimately, the decision to start allergy shots is made between the allergist and patient weighing the risks, benefits and costs of this therapy.

If you own questions about your migraine or migraine symptoms, contact the American Migraine Foundation so we can assist join you with a doctor in your area.


  • Ratner PH, Howland WC, 3rd, Jacobs RL, et al.

    Relief of sinus pain and pressure with fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray: a placebo-controlled trial in patients with allergic rhinitis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2002; 23: 259-63.

  • de Souza Carvalho D, Fragoso YD, Coelho FM and Pereira MM. Asthma plus migraine in childhood and adolescence: prophylactic benefits with leukotriene receptor antagonist. Headache. 2002; 42: 1044-7.
  • Brandes JL, Visser WH, Farmer MV, et al. Montelukast for migraine prophylaxis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

    What should i take for allergy headache

    Headache. 2004; 44: 581-6.

  • Fernandez-de-Las-Penas C, Hernandez-Barrera V, Carrasco-Garrido P, et al.

    What should i take for allergy headache

    Population-based study of migraine in Spanish adults: relation to socio-demographic factors, lifestyle and co-morbidity with other conditions. J Headache Pain. 2010; 11: 97-104.

  • Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, Buse DC, Reed ML and Lipton RB. Asthma is a risk factor for new onset chronic migraine: Results from the American migraine prevalence and prevention study. Headache. 2016; 56: 118-31.
  • Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, et al. Chronic rhinitis and its association with headache frequency and disability in persons with migraine: results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study.

    What should i take for allergy headache

    Cephalalgia. 2014; 34: 336-48.

  • Ku M, Silverman B, Prifti N, Ying W, Persaud Y and Schneider A. Prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006; 97: 226-30.
  • Davey G, Sedgwick P, Maier W, Visick G, Strachan DP and Anderson HR. Association between migraine and asthma: matched case-control study. Br J Gen Pract. 2002; 52: 723-7.
  • Aamodt AH, Stovner LJ, Langhammer A, Hagen K and Zwart JA. Is headache related to asthma, hay fever, and chronic bronchitis? The Head-HUNT Study. Headache. 2007; 47: 204-12.
  • Bernstein JA, Davis BP, Picard JK, Cooper JP, Zheng S and Levin LS.

    A randomized, double-blind, parallel trial comparing capsaicin nasal spray with placebo in subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011; 107: 171-8.

  • Sheftell F, Rapoport A, Weeks R, Walker B, Gammerman I and Baskin S. Montelukast in the prophylaxis of migraine: a potential role for leukotriene modifiers. Headache. 2000; 40: 158-63.
  • Lateef T, Swanson S, Cui L, Nelson K, Nakamura E and Merikangas K.

    Headaches and sleep problems among adults in the United States: findings from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication study. Cephalalgia. 2011; 31: 648-53.

  • Aaseth K, Grande RB, Kvaerner K, Lundqvist C and Russell MB. Chronic rhinosinusitis gives a ninefold increased risk of chronic headache. The Akershus study of chronic headache. Cephalalgia. 2010; 30: 152-60.
  • Martin VT, Taylor F, Gebhardt B, et al. Allergy and immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headache? Headache. 2011; 51: 8-20.

If you own migraines and you also own frequent sneezing and congestion, you may be surprised to know that there's a potential connection between your head pain and your sniffles.

Migraines are more common in people who own allergies and/or rhinitis, a health condition that causes nasal symptoms love sneezing and congestion, though experts aren't exactly certain how the two are connected.

If you own migraines and you also own frequent sneezing and congestion, you may be surprised to know that there's a potential connection between your head pain and your sniffles. Migraines are more common in people who own allergies and/or rhinitis, a health condition that causes nasal symptoms love sneezing and congestion, though experts aren't exactly certain how the two are connected.

Treatments for hay fever from a GP

Your GP might prescribe steroids.

If steroids and other hay fever treatments do not work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.

This means you’ll be given little amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.

This helpful of treatment generally starts in the winter about 3 months before the hay fever season begins.

The Best Research Resources

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

This academy’s website provides valuable information to assist readers determine the difference between colds, allergies, and sinusitis. A primer guide on sinusitis also provides more specific information about the chronic version of the illness. Additional resources include a «virtual allergist» that helps you to review your symptoms, as well as a database on pollen counts.

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)

In addition to providing a comprehensive guide on sinus infections, the ACAAI website also contains a wealth of information on allergies, asthma, and immunology.

The site’s useful tools include a symptom checker, a way to search for an allergist in your area, and a function that allows you to ask an allergist questions about your symptoms.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

For allergy sufferers, the AAFA website contains an easy-to-understand primer on sinusitis. It also provides comprehensive information on various types of allergies, including those with risk factors for sinusitis.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC website provides basic information on sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses, such as common colds, bronchitis, ear infections, flu, and sore throat.

It offers guidance on how to get symptom relief for those illnesses, as well as preventative tips on practicing good hand hygiene, and a recommended immunization schedule.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

The U.S. National Library of Medicine is the world’s largest biomedical library. As part of the National Institutes of Health, their website provides the basics on sinus infection. It also contains a number of links to join you with more information on treatments, diagnostic procedures, and related issues.

What causes hay fever

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat.

Pollen is a fine powder from plants.

Check the pollen forecast

Media final reviewed: 21 April 2017
Media review due: 21 April 2020

Sheet final reviewed: 21 December 2017
Next review due: 21 December 2020

How to Stay Healthy, Breathe Easier, and Feel Energetic This Winter

Indoor allergies, freezing weather, less sunlight — winter can make it hard to stay well mentally and physically. Discover out how to protect yourself against seasonal allergies, the winter blahs, freezing winds, comfort-eating traps, and fatigue this year.

Learn More About the Ultimate Winter Wellness Guide

Sinusitis can be a confusing thing to treat for anyone.

Because a sinus infection can be so easily confused with a common freezing or an allergy, figuring out the best way to alleviate your symptoms can be difficult.

Even more challenging, a sinus infection can evolve over time from a viral infection to a bacterial infection, or even from a short-term acute infection to a long-term chronic illness.

We own provided for you the best sources of information on sinus infections to assist you rapidly define your ailment and get the best and most efficient treatment possible.

Check if you own hay fever

Symptoms of hay fever include:

  1. sneezing and coughing
  2. loss of smell
  3. itchy, red or watery eyes
  4. headache
  5. earache
  6. itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  7. a runny or blocked nose
  8. pain around your temples and forehead
  9. feeling tired

If you own asthma, you might also:

  1. have a tight feeling in your chest
  2. be short of breath
  3. wheeze and cough

Hay fever will final for weeks or months, unlike a freezing, which generally goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.

How to treat hay fever yourself

There’s currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.

But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.


  1. put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  2. stay indoors whenever possible
  3. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  4. vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
  5. hold windows and doors shut as much as possible
  6. shower and change your clothes after you own been exterior to wash pollen off
  7. purchase a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter


  1. do not cut grass or stroll on grass
  2. do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
  3. do not spend too much time exterior
  4. do not dry clothes exterior – they can catch pollen
  5. do not hold unused flowers in the home
  6. do not let pets into the home if possible – they can carry pollen indoors

Allergy UK has more tips on managing hay fever.

A pharmacist can assist with hay fever

Speak to your pharmacist if you own hay fever.

They can give advice and propose the best treatments, love antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to assist with:

  1. itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
  2. a blocked nose

Find a pharmacy

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  1. your symptoms are getting worse
  2. your symptoms do not improve after taking medicines from the pharmacy