Seasonal allergies aren’t just frustrating, but a new, growing body of research finds there’s also a link between the allergies and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Allergist, Dr. Jonathan Field, said there’s roughly 58 million people in the U.S. with allergies, and a large percentage of them also suffer from seasonal depression.
"When people have allergies, they don’t feel well," Dr. Field said. "They can feel fatigued. They can feel socially anxious about looking ill, especially in the last few years with COVID."
According to the research, some allergies prompt the immune system to release proteins that regulate depression and anxiety in the brain.
One study found the link between allergies and major depression is particularly strong among women.
Allergies can also make it harder to sleep, making it harder to get the motivation to get outside and exercise.
Suffering from spring allergy symptoms? Here's what doctors recommend
Are you suffering from the itchy eyes, congestion and fatigue that seasonal pollen can bring?
Dr. Khaled Girgis of HCA Midwest Health reminded his patients they don't have to put up with seasonal allergy symptoms. There are medications and good habits that can help you enjoy your time outdoors.
Girgis said it’s important to see an allergist who can identify exactly what’s going on.
Once allergies are diagnosed, Girgis said you can talk about avoidance measures with your allergist — ways to reduce your exposure to have fewer symptoms and decrease medicine.
Top tips to combat allergy symptoms
- Consider wearing sunglasses, a hat and a mask outside.
- Girgis advised taking a shower when you get home after being outdoors because pollen can gather on your skin and hair.
- You should also keep the windows at home and in your car closed and use a HEPA air purifier in your home, especially the bedroom.
- Most importantly, Girgis said, follow your doctor’s treatment plan.