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Are Your Allergies Making You Tired?

Near­ly 30 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion expe­ri­ences sea­son­al aller­gy attacks which cause symp­toms like nasal con­ges­tion, headaches, sneez­ing or cough­ing. Dur­ing an aller­gy flare-up, you may also feel drowsy and have a hard­er time focus­ing on activ­i­ties through­out the day, which is often referred to as brain fog”. Aller­gist, Dr. Andrey Leonov, explains the effect your aller­gies have on your sleep and ener­gy lev­el, and what you can do to min­i­mize symp­toms, includ­ing brain fog.

For many of us, envi­ron­men­tal aller­gens like pollen, mold or dan­der trig­ger an aller­gic response, espe­cial­ly dur­ing peak sea­sons when their counts are at their high­est. Dur­ing an aller­gic reac­tion, inflam­ma­tion often devel­ops espe­cial­ly in your eyes, lungs, sinus­es and throat. Inflam­ma­tion can trig­ger oth­er aller­gy symp­toms includ­ing cough­ing, sneez­ing or headaches, and can pre­vent you from get­ting a good night’s rest. The com­bi­na­tion of a lack of sleep and con­ges­tion often leads to aller­gy-induced fatigue. If inflam­ma­tion devel­ops in your ears, they may not be able to drain prop­er­ly, lead­ing to flu­id build-up. Flu­id in your mid­dle ear can make you feel dizzy, sim­i­lar to hav­ing your head under­wa­ter. The longer you expe­ri­ence aller­gy symp­toms, the more tired you will become, mak­ing school, work and oth­er dai­ly activ­i­ties increas­ing­ly difficult.

The first step to man­ag­ing your aller­gies is to iden­ti­fy which allergen(s) affect you. Once you have deter­mined the cause, an aller­gist can help you devel­op a treat­ment plan that will lim­it your expo­sure to the allergen(s) and alle­vi­ate your symptoms.

If you expe­ri­ence aller­gy-induced brain fog or oth­er aller­gy symp­toms, you can try:

Over-the-counter med­ica­tion:

Your aller­gist can help you to deter­mine which med­ica­tions, includ­ing anti­his­t­a­mines*, may be best for you. Anti­his­t­a­mine med­ica­tions can help to com­bat feel­ings of fatigue by tem­porar­i­ly reduc­ing the amount of swelling in your nasal cavity.

*Cer­tain anti­his­t­a­mines can make you tired, so be sure to select one that is labeled as non-drowsy”.

Aller­gy Shots:

Aller­gy shots, also referred to as immunother­a­py, are con­sid­ered one of the most effec­tive ways to treat chron­ic aller­gy symp­toms. Aller­gy shots intro­duce small amounts of a par­tic­u­lar aller­gen into your body, slow­ly increas­ing the dose over time. This helps to build-up your tol­er­ance to the aller­gen safe­ly over time, mak­ing you less reac­tive to the aller­gen and reduces the sever­i­ty of your symptoms.

Nasal Sprays and Neti Pots:

In some cas­es, using a nasal spray or a Neti pot can pro­vide symp­tom relief by clear­ing out your con­gest­ed nasal pas­sages and reduc­ing the amount of swelling.


Tak­ing a hot show­er before going to bed will wash off any envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants you may have come into con­tact with through­out the day. The steam also opens up your nasal pas­sages, which can help you get a more rest­ful night’s sleep.


While it may be tempt­ing to open up win­dows as the weath­er gets nicer, you may be let­ting allergen(s) into your home. Aller­gy-proof your home by keep­ing win­dows closed when aller­gen counts are high, espe­cial­ly first thing in the morn­ing, as well as vac­u­um­ing and wash­ing sheets and tow­els regularly.

Whether you’re expe­ri­enc­ing sleep dis­tur­bance, increased swelling or a com­bi­na­tion of the two, aller­gic brain fog is a real phe­nom­e­non. You can get symp­tom relief and reduce aller­gy-fatigue by work­ing with an aller­gist to estab­lish a treat­ment plan that’s best for you. To learn more about our team of board-cer­ti­fied Aller­gy, Asth­ma and Immunol­o­gy physi­cians, vis­it our Aller­gy, Asth­ma & Immunol­o­gy page.

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