If you have allergies, you’re familiar with the common symptoms: itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, sneezing and scratchy throat. But did you know that your allergies can lead to dizziness and vertigo too? We review how allergies cause these symptoms and how you can find relief below.
What Causes Allergies?
Your immune system works to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for more than 50 million Americans, their immune system mistakes harmless substances such as pollen at Charleston Waterfront Park, pet dander, dust mites, certain foods, mold and insect stings as dangerous intruders. An allergic reaction occurs when your body is exposed to one of these harmless substances, known as an allergen, and your immune system overreacts.
In order to fight off the intruder, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine can increase your mucus production and cause inflammation.
How Do Allergies Cause Dizziness & Vertigo?
The inflammation caused by histamine can occur in the ears. More specifically, in the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ears to the back of the throat and allow fluid to drain and air pressure to equalize. When the Eustachian tubes become blocked, fluid can become trapped in the middle ear, which can result in symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo. It can also make it difficult for you to hear.
While dizziness refers to the general feeling of imbalance, vertigo is a specific type of dizziness that refers to the sensation of you or the world around you spinning.
How Is Allergy-Induced Vertigo Treated?
According to one study from 2021, “Excepting first-generation antihistamines, and short-term use of steroids, most pharmacotherapies used to treat allergic rhinitis have limited benefit in treating allergically induced or related dizziness. Allergy immunotherapy and/or an elimination diet for diagnosed food allergies have been found to be effective treatments.”
In other words, while certain medications can provide relief, practicing avoidance of known allergens and undergoing allergy immunotherapy are most effective for treating allergy-induced dizziness and vertigo. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist to discuss immunotherapy, call Charleston ENT & Allergy today.