Can Allergies Make You Feel Tired?

There is so much to love about spring — warmer weather, blooming flowers, and fresh air blowing in every direction. As wonderful as all the fresh air and flowers are, however, they do have a downside. Flowers give off pollen that swirls together with dust and dander in all of that fresh air, setting off allergies in those unlucky enough to have them.

On top of commonly known symptoms like itchy eyes and a runny nose, allergies can also cause symptoms like rashes, headaches, fever, and even vomiting, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Any one of these symptoms is sure to put a damper on a nice day. Not even the sunniest of days can make up for experiencing more than one of them at the same time.

There is one more common symptom that comes with allergies, however. It's somewhat debated by the public, but the medical literature is very clear: allergies do cause fatigue, and surprisingly, they do so in more than one way.

The reaction is multifaceted

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology lists fatigue among other common allergy symptoms. Both sleepiness and a sense of otherwise unfounded irritability fall under the umbrella of fatigue and may be signs of untreated allergies.

Some of this fatigue can be traced back to sleep loss, according to the Advanced ENT and Allergy Center. Other allergy symptoms can interrupt your rest, leaving you tired and grumpy the next day. Another cause of allergy-related fatigue is an overworked immune system. Haden Allergy describes this symptom as "biochemically based fatigue." The body's immune system treats the allergen like a virus or disease-causing bacteria and attacks it, triggering the same internal reactions that a person experiences when they're sick. Oftentimes, this results in fatigue.

The Cleveland Clinic rounds out this explanation by pointing the finger at cytokines. Your body releases cytokines when you're sick, as well as when you're exposed to an allergen. These proteins then set off an inflammatory reaction. Over time, this inflammation causes brain fog, adding to the overall fatigue.