About 24 million people in the US get hay fever. Seasonal allergies can be pretty disruptive to your life. They can make you sniffle, itch, sneeze, and make your eyes water.
Sometimes you can also experience symptoms that you might not realize are related to allergies or that aren’t usually associated with allergies.
If you start to feel nauseous or sick when you have allergies, you might start to wonder whether the two things are connected. Many different things can make you feel nauseous and even make you vomit, but is having seasonal allergies one of them?
Can Allergies Make You Feel Nauseous?
Nausea isn’t usually associated with seasonal allergies, but that doesn’t mean that it’s never a symptom. It’s not a very common symptom, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. It is more common for food allergies to cause nausea and vomiting, as well as diarrhea.
However, although seasonal allergies are unlikely to directly cause nausea, some of the symptoms of allergies could make you feel sick. For example, if your sinuses are congested, it could make you feel dizzy and sick.
How Can Allergies Cause Nausea?
Allergies might cause nausea in a couple of ways. Firstly, when your body reacts to an allergen, it releases histamine to counteract it. Histamine can cause you to have a runny nose, itchy eyes, rash, and other symptoms. It might also cause you to feel sick as your body reacts to the sudden flood of histamine. Some research has shown that allergies can cause intestinal inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Seasonal allergies could also make you feel nauseous due to other symptoms. Dizziness can make you feel sick, and you might feel dizzy due to your sinuses and eustachian tubes being blocked with mucus. Postnasal drip (mucus moving from your nose down your throat) could also lead you to feel nauseous because the mucus you swallow could upset your stomach. If you take allergy medication, some of them can sometimes cause nausea too.
Can Seasonal Allergies Make You Vomit?
Just as it’s not particularly common for seasonal allergies to cause nausea, it’s also not very common for them to make you vomit. However, some people do feel ill enough to vomit when they have seasonal allergies. This could be due to dizziness or mucus, or other effects of excessive amounts of histamine. But vomiting is more likely to be caused by food allergies or other reasons than it is to be from seasonal allergies.
How to Treat Nausea from Allergies
If your allergies are making you feel dizzy, there are various steps that you might take to help relieve the symptoms.
Take an Antihistamine or Decongestant
Over-the-counter medications are often helpful for people with seasonal allergies. Antihistamines help to lower the level of histamine produced, while decongestants can deal with blocked noses and sinuses. If you find that these medications don’t work for you, you might find it helpful to speak to a doctor for recommendations or a prescription for a different medication.
Doctors might recommend immunotherapy for people who have allergies that don’t respond to the usual treatments. Immunotherapy helps to change your response to allergens by using a tiny amount of allergen extract that’s given to you over a few years to expose you to the allergen and help your body adjust to it. Studies have shown that it’s effective in adults, although it’s only used for people who have persistent moderate to severe allergies.
Avoid Irritants and Allergens
If you have allergies, try to avoid any irritants or allergens that could make it worse. Cigarette smoke, pets, and other allergens can all have an effect. Keep an eye on the pollen count and try to stay indoors when the count is high if you can.
Clear Out Your Nose and Sinuses
You can try using water to flush out your nasal passages and sinuses, which has been shown to be effective. You can use saline nasal sprays or a neti pot, which looks a bit like a teapot and is used to flush water through your nose.
Use an Air Filter
The use of an air filter in your home could also help you to avoid seasonal allergies. It can filter out pollen and other seasonal allergies that could cause you to have symptoms.
Treat the Nausea
Even if you can’t successfully reduce your body’s reaction to allergens, there are many things that can help you to feel less nauseous. Some herbal teas and supplements might help you to feel less nauseous. For example, ginger and peppermint are both used to help settle the stomach. Staying hydrated can help to thin out mucus, which might help you to feel less dizzy and sick. Doctors can also prescribe medications to help reduce nausea.
When to See a Doctor
If your allergies are making you feel nauseous, you should see a doctor, especially if the nausea is making you vomit. The doctor can help you to find out if the nausea is caused by your allergies or something else. If you think you are having an allergic reaction caused by a food allergy, it’s especially important to seek medical help. Anaphylaxis could be the worst-case scenario with this type of allergy.
Get Help from an Online Doctor
See an online doctor if you want to get the medical help you need without leaving home. A virtual consultation will save you a lot of time and you won’t have to spend time sitting in a waiting room.
- Nausea isn’t a very common symptom of seasonal allergies but it can happen
- Allergies might cause nausea due to blocked eustachian tubes and sinuses, postnasal drip, and other issues
- Treating your allergies can help you to reduce any feelings of nausea you might be feeling
- You can treat allergies using antihistamines, decongestants, flushing out your sinuses, and avoiding allergies as much as possible
- You can also address nausea directly with things that will help to settle your stomach
- See a doctor if treating your allergies at home isn’t effective
- Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting: A Review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Volume 53, 2013 – Issue 7, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2011.553751
- Denise K Sur, Stephanie Scandale, Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis, Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(12):1440-1446, Available from: https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2010/0615/p1440.html
- Kawauchi, H.; Yanai, K.; Wang, D.-Y.; Itahashi, K.; Okubo, K. Antihistamines for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment from the Viewpoint of Nonsedative Properties. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010213
- Rentzos G, Lundberg V, Stotzer PO, Pullerits T, Telemo E. Intestinal allergic inflammation in birch pollen allergic patients in relation to pollen season, IgE sensitization profile and gastrointestinal symptoms. Clin Transl Allergy. 2014 May 30;4:19. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1186/2045-7022-4-19 . PMID: 24910772; PMCID: PMC4048541.
- Signs of Allergies, American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Available from: https://acaai.org/allergies/symptoms/nausea-and-vomiting/
- Allergy Facts and Figures, Asthma And Allergy Foundation of America, Available from: https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.