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How Tired Is Too Tired?

Do you feel like you're always tired? Are you having trouble staying awake during prime time sitcoms? Most of us know what it's like to be tired, especially when we have a cold, flu, or some other viral infection. But when you suffer from a constant lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, it may be time to check with your doctor.

Fatigue is a lingering tiredness that is constant and limiting. With fatigue, you have unexplained, persistent, and relapsing exhaustion. It's similar to how you feel when you have the flu or have missed a lot of sleep. If you have chronic fatigue,, or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), you may wake in the morning feeling as though you've not slept. Or you may be unable to function at work or be productive at home. You may be too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs.

In most cases, there's a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, or some other health condition. If that's the case, then the long-term outlook is good. WebMD looks at some of the most common causes of fatigue and how they are resolved.

Allergies, Hay Fever, and Fatigue

Symptoms: Fatigue, headache, itchiness, nasal congestion, and drainage

Allergic rhinitis is a common cause of chronic fatigue. But allergic rhinitis often can be easily treated and self-managed. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will assess your symptoms. The doctor will also determine through a detailed history or testing whether your allergies are triggered by pollens, insects (dust mites or cockroaches), animal dander, molds and mildew, weather changes, or something else.

One way to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis -- including fatigue -- is to take steps to avoid the offending allergen. In addition, proper medication can help with symptoms. Drugs that might help include:

  • topical nasal steroids (recommended)
  • non-drowsy, second generationa oral antihistamines
  • topical nasal antihistamines
  • leukotriene modifiers
  • mast cell stabilizers


Allergy shots -- immunotherapy -- may help in severe cases. This treatment involves weekly shots of increasingly higher solutions of the offending allergens. Allergy shots take time to be effective and are usually administered over a period of three to five years.

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