Wednesday, May 04, 2011
If your watery eyes and itchy nose are making you miserable, take a look at your to-do list before you pop another round of allergy meds. Those insane work deadlines may be making your symptoms worse, research shows. According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Allergology and Clinical Immunology, chronic stress won’t cause allergies to develop out of nowhere, but they can exacerbate symptoms and make treatment more difficult.
There is scientific evidence to show that stress can exacerbate allergy symptoms. For instance, studies show that social and economic stress can make childhood asthma symptoms more severe and more difficult to treat.
Acute Stress, Chronic Stress, and Allergies
Many studies show that your nervous system and your immune system, the system responsible for the allergic response, are closely linked. This link has even given rise to a new field of study called psychoneuroimmunology. Doctors now know that when your body is under stress it feels threatened and produces brain chemicals and hormones that trigger your immune system.
Acute stress causes your body to go into a "flight or fight" response. In order to survive, your body will increase its heart rate and blood pressure, and deliver more sugar and oxygen to your muscles. This response might help you get out of danger, but it can also be dangerous for you if you have allergies. This stress response has been shown to trigger asthma and allergic skin rashes in children. Some examples of acute stress are:
· Sudden illness
· Sudden life changes or losses
· Emotional issues that cause anxiety, fear, anger
Chronic stress (stress lasting for months or years) may be even worse for your allergies. Exposure to stress over a long period of time can change your immune system in ways that make your allergy symptoms worse and also make you more susceptible to allergies. Things that can cause chronic stress include:
· Chronic illness
· Poor working or living conditions — such as relationship difficulties, long hours, financial worries.
What Can You Do About Stress and Allergies?
The good news is that while stress can weaken your immune system and make your allergy symptoms worse, relieving stress can make your immune system stronger and can help you manage your allergies better. Here are some Natural ways to Stress relief:
· Talk about your stress and ask for help from friends and family.
· Avoid people or situations that trigger stress.
· Learn techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, or yoga.
· Regular exercise helps.
· Take care to get enough sleep and a regular healthy diet.
· Bio-Energetic Stress Reduction Therapy
Having a plan of action makes you feel empowered and reduces the stress of living with an allergy.