Spring Into Action: Fight Off Allergies, Improve Anxiety

We’re fast approaching allergy season, if not in the midst of it already in some areas. Interestingly, seasonal allergies can have an impact on mental health, inlcuding causing increased anxiety. This is a fairly recent “discovery”, but I defintely didn’t find this to be a new and novel idea when I first read about it. As someone who’s allergic to basically all pollen, spring always brought about increased uneasiness and anxiety for me.

I won’t pretend to really understand the science behind it, so I’ll turn it over to this article I found on the subject, which says:

In the heart, histamine…widens our blood vessels, and therefore there is less resistance to blood pumping through the body. Imagine a running hose that is widened, suddenly allowing more water to flow through, with less resistance or pressure. Just like this hose, the widening of blood vessels and decrease in resistance causes a drop in blood pressure. At the same time, your heart rate increases, as it works to get the same volume of blood through the widened vessels.

The combination of rapid heart rate and change in blood pressure can cause feelings of high anxiety, especially when they bring with them a pounding heart, shortness of breath, “flushing”, a rise in body temperature, dizziness, and/or redness in the face. Some people might feel that they are having a panic attack, when in reality the problem is excess histamine.

For those of us who have anxiety and suffer from panic attacks the symptoms caused by excess histamine sound very familiar. Through our experiences we’ve come to associate these feelings with panic attacks, and it’s only natural that we do. So what do we do about it?

I’m a big believer in tackling the source of a problem. We can do deep breathing and self-talk all we want, and we should still use those tried and true coping strategies, but when it comes to something caused by actual physical symptoms it’s more effective to address the larger problem. In this case, allergies.

I personally use Benadryl, but I know from experience not everything will work for everybody. There are a multitude of different over the counter medicines you can try, and don’t be afraid to try generics too! Depending on the severity, it might even be worth going to an allergy specialist.

Allergies suck even without the added anxiety they can cause. Don’t let yourself suffer through another Spring like that. Reduce congestion, and improve your state of mind!

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