This blog post is a paid partnership with Klarify.
According to Allergy UK “the UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world, with over 20% of the population affected by one or more allergic disorder”. That’s pretty shocking, so if you have symptoms regularly such as a sore throat, headache and cough, then you might be wondering if these are actually allergy symptoms and not just another cold.
Considering a whopping 44% of British adults now suffer from at least one allergy and it’s on the rise, you’d be forgiven for thinking there might be more to your symptoms, especially if you have them persistently.
Can allergies cause a sore throat, headache and cough? What should you do if you think you have an allergy? How can you test for allergies at home? Let’s take a look at whether a cough, headache and sore throat can be allergy symptoms and if so, what can you do if you think you have an allergy.
What is an allergy?
As the NHS website quite clearly explains “An allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance”.
You aren’t always born with an allergy. They can strike at any point and last a lifetime, or go away.
The most common allergies are to pollen, mites, certain food types, latex, mould and to pets (rather to the animal dander which is the skin and hair they shed).
Can allergies cause a sore throat?
Yes. Some allergens such as pet dander, moulds, dust and pollen can irritate your airways and cause a sore throat.
The sore throat can be a result of other symptoms from an allergy such as the congestion draining down the throat causing tickling or scratchy pain.
Many allergies, such as hay fever, are seasonal only. If you usually experience a sore throat during spring and summer, then it could be a pollen allergy. If you also have other allergy symptoms (see below) then it’s likely to be an allergy.
However, if your sore throat is accompanied by body aches and a high temperature, then it’s probably a cold or flu.
Can allergies cause a headache or cough?
Sometimes allergies can cause migraine headaches. Doctors are still trying to figure out the link between migraines and allergies.
“If allergies trigger your migraine, you may have:
- Pain in your sinuses (behind your cheekbones and forehead)
- Facial pain
- A throbbing or “stabbing” headache that’s often one-sided
Your symptoms could be worse when you’re exposed to bright light. You may get more migraines in the spring, fall, and summer, when outdoor allergens are at their highest.”
So yes, if you regularly suffer migraines then, quite surprisingly, it could be due to an allergy.
Hay fever in particular can also cause a sufferer to have headaches. They are a common symptom of hay fever due to the sinuses becoming blocked.
Swelling and irritation of airways, caused by allergens such as pollen, dust and pet dander, can typically result in a cough. If your cough only happens when you are in certain places or around certain things then it is likely an allergy cough.
Coughing that worsens with exercise, which may have a wheezing or whistling chest sound, could be a sign you have asthma. Other signs are chest tightness, shortness of breath or rapid breathing. If you think you have asthma then book an appointment with your GP who can perform some simple tests to diagnose and provide the correct treatment.
What other symptoms are caused by allergies?
There are lots of symptoms caused by allergies, sometimes depending on the person and also the allergen.
Klarify say: “There are lots of telltale signs to look for if you think you might be experiencing allergy symptoms. Signs such as frequent sneezing, itchy or watery eyes and a congested nose. You may experience problems when you eat certain foods.”
The NHS website explains the symptoms of an allergic reaction:
“Allergic reactions usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- a runny or blocked nose
- red, itchy, watery eyes
- wheezing and coughing
- a red, itchy rash
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur.
This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.”
How to easily do allergy testing in the UK to see if you are allergic to the common allergens
To put your mind at rest about whether you have an allergy or not, you can easily do an at-home allergy test. The at-home allergy tests by Klarify will test you for 294 allergens to put your mind at rest.
Knowledge is power and once you know if you are allergic to something, then you can do something about it. And if you’re not, then you can rule it out and focus on finding the cause of your symptoms.
If you have an allergy then you can seek further medical advice, if you need to, as well as researching the allergy, its causes, symptoms and how to overcome it or how to live with it.
Taking a Klarify allergy test is really easy. They send an at-home lab kit for you to easily and quickly take a blood sample to send back to them for testing.
This sample will then be tested for allergies to pollen, pets, mites, food, moulds, yeast, insects, latex and more.
Once complete, you will receive a personalised report with your results.
To find out more, visit Klarify at https://uk.klarify.me/ where there’s a wealth of information about allergies and allergy testing to help you.