Feeling Sad & Tired? The "Other" Side of Allergies

by Kathi MacNaughton Health Professional

You know that allergies can make you feel pretty lousy physically, what with the sneezing, the wheezing, the stuffy head, and the itchy eyes. But did you know they can also make you feel bad in other ways?

One of the most frequent questions I get is whether allergies can make you feel tired, and the answer to that question is a resounding "yes" Allergies can definitely sap your energy level. Think about it -- just having to cope physically and emotionally with the symptoms mentioned above can be draining and distracting, especially if you're also trying to carry on with the business of life.

If your allergy symptoms also keep you from getting to sleep or staying asleep, it's even worse. And when we're tired, it's a quick trip to feeling frustrated, "down," and discouraged. In fact, one study of 2,500 allergic people found that about half of them felt irritated or miserable about their allergy symptoms. One third of them complained about feeling depressed. And 80% said they were tired! So, you're definitely not alone in feeling that way.

Experts aren't sure if there are other factors that may be contributing to the changes in mood and energy level in people with allergies. Some believe that mast cells, cells that are involved in the haywire immune processes that lead to allergy symptoms, may send negative signals to your brain. Or, the antihistamines designed to treat your asthma symptoms can also add to your feelings of tiredness at the same time they are helping your physical symptoms.

In the end, though, if you find a medicine that controls your allergy symptoms effectively, while you work to avoid the things that trigger those symptoms, you should be able to keep mood changes and low energy levels from becoming a factor in your life. If you can't, then be sure to talk with your doctor about what you can do to start to feel better. You don't have to just "grin and bear it" through feelings like this.

Kathi  MacNaughton
Meet Our Writer
Kathi MacNaughton

Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer, with a prior career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years — much of it in the field of home health care. Over the past 15 years, she's been an avid contributor for a number of consumer health websites, specializing in asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only as a healthcare professional, but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma, and as a caregiver for her mother with COPD.