What to Do When Allergies Cause Head Pressure


A man lays back on a couch and holds a compress over his eyes.
Highlights
  • Allergies can lead to uncomfortable and painful conditions like head pressure and migraines.

  • Allergies often result in sinus inflammation which can cause infection. This causes headaches and head pressure.

  • The best way to treat allergy headaches, chronic migraines, and facial pain is to find out what you are allergic to and limit your exposure to it.

Why Do Allergies Cause Head Pressure?

When the body encounters an allergen like pollen or dust, it triggers the immune system to release histamine — an inflammatory chemical.

When your sinuses — the air-filled cavities in the head — are inflamed due to seasonal allergies, they become congested and blocked, resulting in even more head pressure.

Key Point: What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Hay fever can also be called allergic rhinitis. This is when the immune system overreacts to the environment, including animal dander, mold spores, pollen, and dust mites.

What are Some Common Allergy Symptoms?

Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, the most common of which are:

Other symptoms that may accompany allergies include:

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Sinus infections or other sinus problems

  • Ear infections

  • Chronic daily headaches

What Can Cause Allergies?

  • Allergy season: Seasonal allergies often occur at certain times of the year when pollen counts are high, like spring.

  • Environmental factors: Dust mites in carpeting, pet dander, and even air pollution can cause allergy symptoms.

  • Food: Certain foods can cause allergic reactions, including nuts, eggs, milk, and shellfish.

  • Medications: The side-effects of some medications can include allergies

A woman sits in bed and holds her head.

Allergies and sinus issues are closely linked. If you experience allergies, you may develop a sinus headache — which is sometimes called an allergy headache.

Allergic reactions can also quickly turn into sinus infections when the sinus cavities become inflamed and irritated, causing sinus headaches and pressure.

The immune response can cause your sinus passages to become swollen and blocked, preventing the normal drainage of mucus and leading to a buildup, which can cause infection.

It’s important to note that not all sinus headaches are caused by allergies or sinus infections. Other factors like bacteria, colds, and flu can also cause sinus headaches.

Allergic reactions can also lead to:

  • A migraine: One of the most common migraine triggers is sinus congestion caused by nasal allergies.

  • Other chronic headaches: Allergies can lead to head pain as a tension or cluster headache.

  • Allergy asthma: A type of asthma that is triggered by an allergic reaction.

If you know you are allergic to something, it’s important to limit your exposure to it. Excessive exposure to allergens can result in more serious health problems in the future.

What Does Head Pressure from Allergies Feel Like?

Head pressure from allergies or an allergy headache can show up as:

  • Facial pain

  • Sinus pain

  • Throbbing pain or pulsing pain on the side of the head

  • A sinus headache

Treatment for Sinus Pressure and Headaches

If you are experiencing sinus headaches and pressure in the sinus cavity, it’s a good idea to see a doctor who can help identify the source of your allergies and sinus problems.

Other allergy headache treatment options can include:

  • Avoiding allergy triggers like dust, pollen, and certain foods

  • Using over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants, and pain relievers

  • Applying a warm compress to the affected areas

  • Staying hydrated to thin mucus and relieve nasal congestion

  • Testing for common allergens to determine what your common triggers are

  • Getting antihistamine shots which tend to be more effective than other treatments

A man stands outside and holds his head in pain.

Where Can I Learn More About Allergies and Other Types of Headaches?

At LifeMD, we offer telehealth consultations with qualified doctors and nurses so that you can get the relief you need from allergies, head pressure, nasal congestion, and allergic asthma.

Visit the LifeMD website to make your telehealth appointment, today.

Payel Gupta, MD, FACAAI

Dr. Gupta holds certifications from the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Internal Medicine, and American Board of Pediatrics. With a deep interest in global health, she’s volunteered her clinical skills across many continents.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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