woman tired hay fever

Can hay fever make you tired? How to deal with allergy-induced fatigue

Posted by for Wellbeing

Have you ever wondered if your constant tiredness could be down to hay fever? We asked an expert why so many of us feel fatigued during allergy season.

As long-time sufferers will know, there’s nothing that ruins the long hot days of summer quite like hay fever. According to the NHS, over 10 million people in England suffer from hay fever and, as pollen levels rise, more and more of us will be suffering from itchy throats, blocked noses and swollen eyes.

But one question many people who suffer from grass and tree pollen have been asking themselves is can hay fever make you tired? Tiredness can be caused by so many different things, so sometimes it can be difficult to figure out if you’re simply experiencing an afternoon slump or if the reason your eyes are closing over at your computer is hay fever.

Can hay fever make you tired?

According to Dr Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, your fatigue could very well be down to the high pollen count. “Quite often the symptoms of hay fever can lead to sleepless nights due to a blocked nose and the inability to breathe as we normally would, which then leads to fatigue the following day,” he explains.

It can be hard to fall and stay asleep with hay fever symptoms, not to mention during a heatwave, so it’s possible your fatigue is simply down to this.

However, that’s not the only issue when it comes to hay fever and tiredness. “The allergic reaction to pollen can release chemicals that can make us feel more tired,” Dr Perry continues. “These chemicals actually help to fight the allergy but can also cause swelling on the nasal tissues resulting in congestion and the feeling of stuffiness and fatigue.”

One of the most common symptoms of hay fever is itchy eyes, and rubbing your eyes when they feel sore can also make you feel tired, especially if the only way to ease your symptoms is by rubbing your eyes.

How can you deal with tiredness caused by hay fever?

The most common treatment for hay fever is over-the-counter antihistamines and eye drops which, for some people, will reduce symptoms of hay fever including tiredness.

Dr Perry also recommends the following methods to deal with hay fever symptoms:

  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting into your eyes.
  • Place Vaseline around the nostrils to stop pollen from getting into the eyes.
  • Stay indoors when the pollen count is very high.
  • Frequent showers and a change of clothes will get rid of the pollen you’ve accumulated during the day.
  • Try to avoid touching and itching the eye area and therefore potentially placing more pollen in the eyes. 

If none of the above help, seek advice from your GP who may be able to offer alternative treatment.

And if you are feeling tired as a result of hay fever, you might just need to try and get a couple of extra hours sleep, whether that’s by going to bed an hour earlier or sneaking in an afternoon nap in the garden.

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