Dr. Douglas Jones, from Rocky Mountain Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says there is nothing good about stress. “It really affects every part of the body” He says stress rev’s up the immune system by producing brain chemicals and hormones. An allergic reaction has a similar effect. “It creates an immune system reaction in the body that ultimately leads to a release of histamine or other proteins in the body that create inflammation.”
Tree pollen, and other allergens lead to inflammation and that’s where symptoms come from. “When you get inflammation in the sinuses you get sinus infection, when you inflammation in the airways it creates asthma, on the skin you get rashes.” He says when you are stressed, that reaction amplified. “When people are under stress it causes changes in the immune system that can lead to the worsening of allergies and asthma.”
An Ohio state study researchers found people who were moderately anxious experienced an allergic reaction 75-percent greater than when not stressed. Their reaction was double on days when they were highly anxious.
Dr. Jones says a heightened allergic reaction can be particularly dangerous for those with asthma. “It can create a situation with the nervous system where we get contraction of certain muscles in our body and that can lead to constriction in the airways that can lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.”
Dr. Jones says there are many medications to help keep allergies in check, but he says keeping tabs on your stress will also help when pollen is in the wind. He recommends identifying what is stressing you out, and maintaining a good diet, sleep, and exercise program to help you cope.