Can stress make my allergies worse?
BY: Daryn Eller
Probably. In a recent study, researchers at Ohio State University subjected 28 people with hay fever and seasonal allergy to both high and low stress conditions. Afterward, they exposed the volunteers to their allergy trigger, using a standard skin prick test. The result: After a highly stressful experience (in this case, giving a speech in front of evaluators), the allergy sufferers experienced a noticeably stronger reaction, with much more puffiness around their skin prick, than when they were under low stress, reports study leader Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D. What’s more, the exacerbated allergic reaction continued into the next day. And in previous studies, Kiecolt-Glaser found that stress can also delay the body’s immune response, which may explain why allergies can worsen with tension and anxiety.
So if your allergies flare up during times of stress, consider adding relaxation therapies to your arsenal. Reducing stress certainly won’t hurt, and it just might help!
Daryn Eller is a frequent contributor to Live Right Live Well and has written for O, Prevention, Health and Natural Health magazines. She lives in Venice, Calif.