Why Do Nasal Allergies Make Me Feel Bad?
Sneezing. Runny nose. Itchy, stuffy nose. You know the symptoms of nasal allergies (also called "hay fever" or "allergic rhinitis"), but do you know why they make you feel this way?
Your body's immune system is designed to fight off substances that can make you sick — things like harmful bacteria. Symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose are your body's way of trying to fight off harmful substances.
But when you have allergies, your immune system is oversensitive. It recognizes an allergen — one or more normally harmless substances (like pollen, pet dander, or mold; it's different for different people) — as a foreign invader and tries to fight it off.
Allergic inflammation leads to nasal allergy symptoms
Though there are different ways your body can be exposed to an allergen, one of the most common involves the nose. The lining of the nasal passages gets swollen, a reaction called "allergic inflammation". This, in turn, can cause bothersome nasal allergy symptoms.
Nasal allergy symptoms may include
- Runny nose
- Congestion (stuffy nose)
- Itchy nose
These nasal allergy symptoms can make you feel bad. Congestion can literally make your face hurt and give you dark circles under your eyes. And post-nasal drip can make you cough as your body tries to clear mucus from your throat.
People with nasal allergies may be more sensitive to irritants such as smoke and perfume, or cold, dry air. They are also more likely to develop sinusitis, an infection or swelling of the sinus cavities around the eyes and behind the nose that can be very painful.