For most seasonal allergy sufferers, recurring symptoms include itching, sneezing, and wheezing. But there are other less common symptoms that may show up seasonally or linger all year round – and these symptoms can be more subtle and overlooked, delaying relief.
We sat down with Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board Member to learn more about allergy symptoms and treatment methods.
What are some less common seasonal allergy (allergic rhinitis) symptoms that are often missed?
Sometimes I see patients with dark circles under their eyes (“allergic shiners”) which look slightly blue or purple, almost bruised. This is caused by the nasal cavities becoming inflamed and congested when exposed to allergens, causing the veins under the eyes to become dilated.
There is also the allergic “crease” – a horizontal line on the nose that comes from frequent rubbing of the nose. This can often lead to nosebleeds as patients with allergic rhinitis frequently rub and traumatize their noses, often unconsciously.
And for some patients, fatigue can be very prominent. Its exact cause is not completely understood. It may be attributed to partial or temporary sleep apnea from severe nasal congestion, and/or the direct effect of some of the chemical mediators released in the body from allergic reactions.
What are some behavioral issues that may be symptoms of allergies?
Behavioral issues such as lethargy or fatigue can be associated with seasonal allergies. This can be caused by exposure to pervasive environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, and/or pet dander, which can lead to compromised breathing during sleep and interruptions in the sleep cycle. This can leave the patient starting a new day feeling foggy and irritable, which can impact productivity and overall well-being.
Studies have also shown that many children don’t do as well academically in school during their allergy season. This can emerge from poor sleep quality leading to lethargy and difficulty concentrating.
What drug-free treatments do you recommend for managing these symptoms?
Firstly, I recommend taking environmental control measures to minimize allergen exposure such as staying indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are highest. Check pollen counts in your area. If you’re allergic to pet dander, take aggressive steps to remove pet dander from your home and limit pet exposure.
Use saltwater irrigation for the nose and artificial tears in the eyes to stay moisturized.
Consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% chemical-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe more easily.
If symptoms worsen, it’s best to see an allergist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In some cases, allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be very effective and greatly reduce symptoms caused by allergen exposure.