Migraines on their own are bad enough, but when you combine a migraine with an allergy it often becomes so much worse. This is especially true when you have an allergy which causes your sinuses to block or become swollen, and also any allergy which causes you to sneeze a lot; hayfever being a common example. (It’s the case as well that some headaches can be directly caused by allergies. These are known as sinus headaches and, as well as one-sided headaches, can also cause facial pain instead of “typical” headaches.)
If you have found that your migraines can be linked to, or made worse by, your allergies then there are some things you can do to help reduce the impact which your allergies have on your migraines.
First off, as with all migraines, identify your migraines triggers, but also your allergy triggers, and do what you can to avoid them. If this is hayfever then staying indoors as much as possible when the pollen index is high is a must.
Taking your allergy medication is something else that is quite a simple thing to do but which is very important. However, make sure that any medication you take for your allergies is compatible with your migraine medication. Most over-the-counter oral and nasal decongestants should be ok and will help to relieve stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen sinuses and nasal tissues, but consult your doctor to make sure. They’ll be able to suggest alternatives if your medications shouldn’t be taken together.
Another helpful tip for avoiding pollen if this is your allergen trigger is to keep windows closed in the high season for your allergen. Use air conditioning instead but make sure that the conditioning units are kept clean. Also, when your car goes in for a service, make sure that the pollen filter is clean. On a similar note, try not to have window fans as these can suck pollens and other allergens into the house.
Hayfever isn’t the only allergy migraine sufferers can struggle with though. If you suffer from an allergy to dust rather than pollen, then vacuuming on a more regular basis than most (or asking a family member or friend to do a bit of this for you if the noise of the vacuum can be a migraine trigger). When you dust try using a damp cloth rather than dry-dusting as this should pick up more dust rather than spreading it around. Using mite-proof covers for pillows and mattresses could also be a good idea.
Finally, if your allergy is animal related, always wash your hands after petting any animals and change your clothes afterwards.
If you’ve tried all of this and you’re still struggling with your allergies then a couple of things you can do which might help to reduce the effects are; inhaling steam a few times a day to help clear the sinuses (e.g. while having a shower), and drinking lots of water to keep mucus thin.