Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Stress Relief Strategies to Ease Allergy Symptoms

Do daily pressures have your allergy symptoms spiking? Try these simple tips for stress relief.

Does Stress Cause Allergy Symptoms? continued...

Allergy symptoms are an example of an overreaction by the immune system to otherwise harmless substances, says Gailen D. Marshall, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi.

Understanding the mechanisms of allergy is recent -- just over the past 35 to 40 years, says Marshall, who is director of the division of clinical immunology and allergy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. While allergic diseases have both genetic and environmental components there's still so much about allergy we don't know.

"In the late 1960s, we'd ask people how many had allergies and an estimated 1 in 10 people reported some form of allergy," Marshall says. "Now compare that with 1 in 3 people in 2000 having some form of allergy."

So, what's changed? While genes don't change that fast, probably our environment has. Marshall believes more air pollution, along with a "squeaky clean society," each play a role in increasing allergies.

Managing Stress to Ease Allergy Symptoms

The experts disagree when it comes to managing stress to ease allergy symptoms. Grossan tells WebMD that after weeks of sneezing, the body's immune system is exhausted. "Going to bed and resting can help to restore the body's resistance and is definitely good stress-relief therapy."

Contrary to this opinion, William E. Berger, MD, MBA, professor of medicine at the University of California, tells WebMD that allergies create stress because you cannot focus on tasks and your coping skills decline.

"When people run, they can breathe better because epinephrine pours throughout the body," says Berger, past president of the American College of Allergy and Immunology and author of Allergies and Asthma for Dummies."Epinephrine is also triggered during stressful moments, which should add to better breathing -- not worse!"

That said, no two people respond to stressful events in the same way either. What may be a source of emotional excitement for you may cause fear for a friend. For instance, you may love to skydive on your weekend while your best friend cringes even thinking about flying in an airplane. That's because we all perceive and respond to stressors differently. Again, it's the inappropriate responses that influence your health and may influence your allergy symptoms.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?

blowing nose
woman with sore throat
lone star tick
Woman blowing nose

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Allergy prick test
Man sneezing into tissue
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching