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Signs of Allergies

When you think about allergy symptoms, what probably comes to mind is sneezing, sniffling and itchy eyes. You might not think of sleeplessness or fatigue from allergies. And while everyone has a bad night’s sleep now and then, fatigue from disrupted sleep can sometimes point to more serious problems, like untreated or improperly treated allergies.

When you are sniffling, sneezing and generally feeling poorly, you often don’t sleep well. But you might not make the connection between daytime allergy symptoms and a lack of sleep at night. And you might not realize that the combination can cause fatigue and other health issues. Also, an allergic reaction can release chemicals in your body that cause fatigue.

If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and unusual fatigue, you might have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). This condition affects about 10 percent of Americans. As many as 90 percent of people who have asthma also have EIB, but not everyone with EIB has allergy-related asthma. One way to get relief is by using an allergist-prescribed inhaler before you begin your workout routine. Breathing through your nose rather than your mouth during exercise can also help.

If you have allergies, you might use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to deal with symptoms. But this could cause more problems. OTC medications, such as decongestants and some antihistamines, can disrupt sleep. This can result in:

  • Trouble making decisions
  • Irritability
  • Greater risk of car accidents
  • Memory damage
  • Reduced hand-eye coordination
  • School and work injuries
  • Fatigue
  • Restricted activities

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Not all people who have allergies experience the same triggers. If you have seasonal allergies, you might be allergic to a specific tree, grass or weed pollen that sets off your symptoms only at a certain time of year. Or you might be allergic to a specific kind of mold that appears with changes in weather and can be confused with pollen allergies. Mold can develop indoors due to dampness. Outdoor mold counts rise in dry dusty conditions and can cause symptoms if you’re mowing grass, raking leaves or out on a sports field. One of the most common molds that cause allergies peaks during the late summer in August and early September.

More than two-thirds of people who have allergies experience symptoms year-round. These reactions can be linked to an indoor source, such as dust mites, cockroaches, mice, pets and mold. It’s important to know your triggers. Allergists are specially trained to help you identify the source of your suffering, and then stop it — not just treat the symptoms.

Once you know your triggers, you will be better equipped to avoid them. Work with your allergist to avoid your triggers and reduce fatigue from allergies.

Learn about common allergy triggers and how to avoid them:

How to Get Tested

Both seasonal and year-round allergies can cause fatigue. Getting tested by a board-certified allergist is the first step to finding relief.  An allergist will take a detailed medical history and review your symptoms to determine whether your allergies are triggered by pollens, animal dander, mold, dust mites, cockroaches, weather changes or something else.

Allergy tests are both convenient and accurate. When combined with a detailed medical history, allergy testing can identify the specific things that trigger your symptoms.

If your fatigue is caused by allergies, the best remedy is to get your allergies under control. Once you have been tested and have identified your allergies, you can work on avoiding triggers and controlling your environment.

It Could Also Be…

There are many things that can cause fatigue. If your allergist rules out allergies, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other potential causes:

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders (such as Lupus)
  • Chronic infections
  • Concussion
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Thyroid disorders