Can Stress Trigger Allergies?
Having allergic reactions can be incredibly frustrating, particularly during certain times of the year, but did you know that stress can actually make your allergies worse? Ample evidence exists to demonstrate the connection between stress and allergies. The good news is that there are helpful strategies for reducing stress levels to easing the prospect of an allergic flare up.
The Link Between Stress and Allergies
Stress has a direct impact on our bodies, and when it comes to allergies, the effects can be especially profound. When we are feeling pressure or stress, our bodies secrete hormones like cortisol that can influence the cells in our body’s defense system. This can lead to an increase in inflammation that makes us more susceptible to allergens. It is important to understand how stress affects your body so you don’t make your allergy symptoms worse.
Stress activates a chain of physiological modifications in the body that result in elevated heart rate and blood pressure, heightened cortisol and adrenaline levels, constriction of blood vessels, inhibited digestion activity, decreased immunity and augmented alertness. These physiological changes may heighten susceptibility to allergies. When you trigger a stress response repeatedly, it can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems–including worsening allergies, according to Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Studies suggest a deep connection between constant stress and nasal hypersensitivities, such as hay fever or seasonal allergies brought on by pollen or pet dander. Constant stress can lead to poor sleep habits, which can significantly worsen allergy symptoms due to reduced immunity, leaving us vulnerable to a myriad of allergens. Inadequate sleep increases the production of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines, causing a heightened sensitivity toward environmental factors. Getting enough restful sleep every night should be a key part of your strategy to managing stress and reducing the chance of an allergy flare-up.
Managing Both Your Mental Well-being & Physical Environment
Managing both your mental well-being and physical space is essential for creating an environment that lowers stress. The lower your overall stress, the less likely your allergies will act up. Relaxation practices, for example, breathing activities, contemplation, yoga, and getting satisfactory restful sleep every night can help reduce tension levels.
Additionally, exercise daily and set priorities wisely in order to manage stress effectively. Taking prescribed allergy medications consistently, if necessary, can help manage allergic reactions.
In addition to taking time out each day for self-care practices, you should manage your physical environment to ensure it is as clean as possible. Using one of the best air purifiers for allergies, for example, will go a long way toward creating the type of pure environment that will optimize your health by minimizing stress, and reducing the likelihood of an allergic flare-up.
Frequently Asked Questions: Can Stress Trigger Allergies?
Can allergies be triggered by stress?
No, allergies cannot be triggered by stress. Stress can make existing allergies worse as the body’s reaction to it may lead to inflammation and irritation. However, stress itself does not trigger an allergic reaction or create new allergies.
Can anxiety contribute to allergies?
Yes, anxiety can contribute to allergies. When a person is distressed or tense, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are produced that can release histamines in the system. Histamines are inflammatory and can cause allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. Chronic stress can weaken an immune system, causing greater susceptibility to developing allergies.
Is there a correlation between allergies and mental health?
Yes, there is a definite correlation between allergies and mental health. The physical effects of allergies, such as fatigue, headaches, and respiratory problems can cause emotional distress that may lead to anxiety or depression. Moreover, certain drugs used to reduce allergies have been associated with alterations in emotion or conduct that could further impact an individual’s psychological well-being.
Manage Your Stress Level with Clean Air
Managing stress levels and maintaining a clean physical environment is essential for those suffering from allergies or asthma. An air purifier can help by removing allergens such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smoke particles, and other pollutants that may aggravate symptoms caused by stress-induced allergies.