Tackle Your Allergies before They Trigger Your Chronic Migraine

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April 12, 2012

It’s that time of year again for seasonal allergies in cities across the country from New York to Fresno to Dallas, with migraines not far behind.  If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer with seasonal allergies you are in for a doozy of a spring.  Thanks to unusually warm weather in March, trees like oak, juniper, and birch began pollinating earlier.  A research study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that 34 percent of seasonal allergy sufferers also had chronic migraine, compared with 4 percent of migraineurs among those not affected by seasonal allergies.

Irritating allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes are caused by the release of histamines.  This leads to blood vessels dilating in the head and may trigger a chronic migraine attack.  So what are you to do if you live in one of the hardest hit allergy cities like Nashville, Philadelphia, Riverside, or Dallas? Migraine sufferers, there is hope!

A little prevention goes a long way.  Here are some tips you can use to avoid triggering your chronic migraine:

  • Use a dehumidifier in your home, clean your furnace filter often,
  • Avoid going outdoors on days with high pollen counts
  • Wash pollen off in shower, and launder clothing when you come home
  • Use the air conditioner in your home and car and shut the windows
  • Take your daily walk early in the day and avoid parks with pollinating trees and grass
  • Wash your bedding once a week with hot water

When allergen avoidance isn’t sufficient to prevent allergies from flaring, use over-the-counter anti-histamines or consider discussing allergy shots with your doctor.  Once a headache is on its way, you can treat it directly, with OTC medication, or if necessary with prescription drugs.  It may also help to employ some relaxation therapies such as deep breathing and meditation to alleviate the pain.

So, armed with these strategies in New Haven, Charlotte or Dallas, migraine sufferers: you can get back to enjoying springtime!

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