If you suffer from allergies, you already know that sometimes your symptoms go beyond a runny nose and itchy eyes. Sometimes, it feels hard to think, concentrate, or focus. It can feel like you're in a complete fog that you just can’t shake.
What Is Brain Fog?
The term "brain fog" describes symptoms that affect your cognitive functioning. Brain fog is frequently associated with a lack of mental clarity and feeling sluggish when trying to think or process information. When brain fog sets in, it adds stress to your life and body. If your allergies are long-lasting, brain fog can become chronic, impacting motivation and increasing irritation.
Common Symptoms of Brain Fog
Brain fog can manifest in a variety of ways. And because you're already experiencing allergy symptoms, many of the signs may go unnoticed. While everyone experiences brain fog differently, there are common symptoms to watch for, including:
- Shorter attention span
- Lack of focus
- Difficulty recalling information
- General forgetfulness
- Mental fatigue
Brain fog can also increase the frequency of headaches and gastrointestinal dysfunction.
Can Allergies Cause Brain Fog?
When most people think of allergy symptoms, runny noses, sneezing, and itchy skin come to mind. Few people realize that allergies can also cause brain fog. Yet, many allergy sufferers experience mental fatigue, confusion, and difficulty concentrating as part of their allergic response.
Other causes of brain fog include chronic fatigue syndrome, hormone imbalances, depression, and other ailments. Learn if allergies are causing your brain fog.
Why Do Allergies Cause Brain Fog?
There are two primary ways allergies cause brain fog: the body’s inflammatory response and the impact allergy symptoms have on your sleep.
The Body’s Inflammatory Response
If you have allergies, your immune system identifies harmless substances (called allergens) as threats to the body. When exposed to these allergens, the body triggers an immune system response to get the allergen out of the body.
This response causes the release of histamine, a natural chemical that leads to inflammation. The release of histamine is responsible for your allergy symptoms and can make you feel foggy and tired as your body fights to rid itself of the allergens.
Allergy Symptoms and Lack of Sleep
Allergies can also cause brain fog because of their impact on your sleep cycle. Histamine can inflame the lining of your sinuses and nasal passageways. This inflammation makes it difficult to breathe. And when allergies impact your ability to breathe at night, it results in poor sleep.
What's more, if a stuffy head, cough, or sneezing fits keep you up at night, it can have an even greater effect on your ability to rest. This lack of quality sleep can negatively impact your cognitive abilities, causing trouble with concentration and leaving you fatigued the next day.
How to Prevent Brain Fog From Allergies?
There are several ways to reduce brain fog from allergies. Try to get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids. Engage in light exercise, like going for a short walk outside, and strive to eat healthy, whole foods. Don’t drink alcohol and limit caffeine when you’re suffering from brain fog, as they can worsen symptoms.
Beyond lifestyle changes, try these options to reduce the allergies that cause your brain fog:
Limit Allergen Exposure
Limiting exposure to triggering allergens can effectively lessen your symptoms. Certain allergens, like pollen, can be hard to avoid, but you can still take precautions to reduce exposure, including:
- Limiting outdoor activities during peak pollen season
- Closing windows and doors when pollen counts are high
- Eliminating areas where dust and pet hair gather
- Replacing carpets and rugs with hard flooring
- Dusting and vacuuming regularly to remove allergens
- Keeping pets off of furniture and out of bedrooms
- Wearing a mask during high exposure times, such as when mowing the lawn
Over-the-counter antihistamines work by temporarily blocking histamine production. These medications are easy to find and are usually fast-acting, but they only provide short-term relief from some allergy symptoms.
If you’re going to be exposed to an allergen, your doctor may recommend starting antihistamines before the exposure occurs. For instance, when visiting a friend who has a pet, take your medication an hour before you leave.
Try Sublingual Immunotherapy
If antihistamines don’t provide allergy relief, it may be time to consider sublingual immunotherapy. This long-lasting allergy treatment exposes your body to small doses of the allergens that cause your symptoms. Over time, your body becomes desensitized to the allergens, and your immune response lessens. Eventually, your body may stop reacting to the allergens altogether, giving you long-term relief from your allergy symptoms, including brain fog.
Sublingual immunotherapy can be safely taken from the convenience of home. Unlike allergy shots, which require weekly injections at the doctor’s office, sublingual immunotherapy is placed under the tongue without the need to travel to see the allergist for each dose.
Are You Ready to End Allergy Brain Fog?
If you’re tired of allergies affecting your ability to concentrate or get a good night's sleep, contact Wyndly. Our allergy doctors work with you to determine your personalized allergy plan that can bring you long-term allergy relief. Take our 2-minute online assessment now to get started on your journey to a life free from allergy symptoms!