When are your allergy symptoms worse?

alllergy sneezing

People often want to know how do you find out what you are allergic to? Thinking about when your symptoms are worse can help you find out what allergens could be a problem for you.

Allergy symptoms worse at a particular time of the year

People who develop symptoms at a particular time of the year may be responding to a seasonal allergen. Pollens or moulds and heating fumes fall into this category. I have had clients who have felt they were not allergic to pollens, because their symptoms were not worse in the summer. On testing they were shown to react to moulds and pollens, so their symptoms persisted throughout the year, but they were reacting to different things according to the season. Someone with a tomato allergy will often be driven to see a doctor/therapist in September in the UK (the month may be different elsewhere). At that time of the year tomatoes are very cheap, or there is a glut in the garden, so intake tends to be much higher, and consequently symptoms become so bad that someone with an unsuspected tomato allergy finally decides they need to do something about it.

Symptoms worse during or just after heavy rain

There is a dramatic increase in mould spores during heavy rain. So you could be suffering from a mould allergy.

Symptoms worse during or just after thunderstorms

Thunderstorms tend to concentrate pollen particles in a narrow band of air close to ground level. There is also a significant increase in mould spores in the air.

Symptoms worse first thing in the morning

If you wake up feeling blocked in the morning or your eczema drives you mad at this time, this will often indicate problems with detergents, house dust mite or bedding fabrics.

Symptoms worse after lunch

Many people assume it is normal to feel sleepy after lunch, but this is not the case, unless the lunch was particularly large. Sleepiness at this time of the day will usually indicate a problem with what was eaten at lunchtime.

Allergy symptoms worse as day wears on

This usually suggests that exposure is increasing as the day wears on, so often foods, or else something in your work environment are likely problems.

Symptoms worse for exercise

This may be because the exercise involves exposure to some allergen (e.g. in swimming pool water, elastane in clothing, etc.), or it may be that there is an increased intake of an allergen because of rapid and/or heavy breathing. Sweat on clothes can also mean that detergents etc. that are in exercise clothing may have an enhanced effect. In some people the exertion of exercise can trigger an existing condition (e.g. exercise-induced asthma). This is not necessarily an allergy reaction.

Symptoms worse at work

Many different substances at work can cause problems. Common occupational allergens include flour for bakers, and cyanoacrylate adhesives for those involved in plastic assembly work. Latex gloves are a common problem for doctors, nurses, dentists and their assistants. Colophony and solder fumes generate allergies for some workers in electronic assembly. Chefs and other kitchen staff may react to cleaning agents and raw fish. Some fishermen react to fish and seaweed. Shampoos and hair dyes can affect hairdressers. Wood dust is a problem for some carpenters and saw mill workers.

Symptoms worse at home

Pets, home heating fumes, carpets, etc. may be the problem.

Symptoms better on holiday

If symptoms are better at this time it may be because the stress levels are less, so the body is better able to cope with any allergens around, or it could be because exposure to one or more allergens has temporarily ceased. So have a think: is there anything you would normally eat that you are not eating while on holiday?

Symptoms worse on holiday or during festivities

When people are on holiday or celebrating religious and family holidays, many things change, including food and drink. Festive decorations that are stored from one year to the next can increase exposure to dust and moulds. Presents may be highly perfumed and scented candles can be a problem too. If the vacation or celebrations happen in a completely different environment, the person may be exposed to different airborne substances (pollens, moulds, industrial pollution, etc.). Cleaning chemicals and free personal care products in hotels, etc. may also be a problem.

How can I find out more?

You can buy my book Allergy A to Z, or visit a kinesiologist, a Bioresonance practitioner  or other therapists who specialise in helping people with allergy problems.