How managing your stress helps you manage your allergies
There is no denying that living with allergies can be a source of stress and discomfort but did you know that there is evidence to suggest that the symptoms of hayfever get worse if a person is stressed?
Recent research found that hayfever sufferers, who described their stress levels as high, reported their hayfever symptoms as unbearable or debilitating. This was in contrast to the least stressed sufferers who found their symptoms to be mild or barely noticeable. This link is also reinforced in other studies, which show enhanced allergic responses with exposure to stress. Although the relationship between stress and allergies is not well understood, the stress response is believed to change the immune system in ways that make allergy symptoms worse and may even increase susceptibility to allergies themselves.3 As such, reducing stress levels may play a role in reducing allergies.
To help manage everyday stress:
- Include relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing.
- Exercise regularly to boost your mood and distract you from your worries.1
- Get some fresh air, even if your hayfever is triggered by airborne pollen. But do try to avoid times when the pollen count is at its highest and be prepared by carrying tissues and your medication or treatment.
- Get plenty of sleep each night to rest and restore your body.
- Remove or reduce the cause of your stress. If you are stressed because of work overload, look for ways to manage this such as delegating and prioritising the work.
- Eat a well‐balanced and varied diet.
- Talk about your stress and ask for help from friends and family.