Can Allergies Make You Dizzy?

Medically Reviewed By Marc Meth, MD, FACAAI, FAAAI

Allergies can cause inflammation and influence the pressure in your body, which may affect balance and cause dizziness. Medication and avoiding known triggers may relieve dizziness and other allergy-related symptoms. Dehydration, some medications, and underlying health conditions can all cause dizziness, but allergies could also be a reason. There may be a connection if you are dizzy and experiencing other allergy symptoms.

Read on to learn more about how allergies can make you dizzy and which treatments may help relieve your symptoms.

Can allergies make you dizzy? 

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Allergies can cause dizziness. Dizziness can be a side effect of allergic rhinitis, called hay fever. Hay fever primarily affects the mucous membranes in your nose.

When you breathe in an allergen, your body’s immune system causes inflammation in your nasal mucous membranes. The inflammation can prompt a series of other reactions in your body, which could lead to dizziness. 

Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is also a symptom Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which is life threatening and a medical emergency. Allergic reactions to foods, medications, or insect stings can lead to anaphylaxis.

Why do environmental allergies make you dizzy?

Nasal inflammation from rhinitis can lead to Eustachian tube dysfunction. Your Eustachian tubes connect your middle ears to the back of your throat, and they are responsible for regulating the pressure in your ears and helping control your balance. 

When allergies cause your nose and throat to swell, the opening of your Eustachian tube can swell, too. This can create a blockage and throw off the pressure in your inner ear. Dizziness is one side effect of Eustachian tube dysfunction. 

Other side effects of Eustachian tube dysfunction include: 

  • a feeling of fullness in your ears
  • difficulty hearing 
  • ringing, clicking or popping noises in your ears
  • pain in your ears

How can you treat dizziness resulting from environmental allergies? 

Treating allergy-related dizziness involves addressing your allergies. If you can, avoid allergy triggers. Some allergens, such as seasonal pollen, can be difficult to avoid. Others, like pet dandruff, may be more manageable.

An allergy test from a healthcare professional could indicate the cause of your dizziness. If you know your triggers, you can create a plan to avoid or minimize them.   

You might find allergy relief from over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription allergy medications containing antihistamines. Antihistamines block the effect of histamine, a chemical that the body releases to remove allergens.

Histamine causes many symptoms associated with allergies, such as sneezing, itching, or a runny nose.

Your doctor may also prescribe allergy treatments such as: 

  • oral, injectable, or intranasal steroids 
  • allergy immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots 
  • leukotriene receptor antagonists that block the effects of leukotrienes, which are chemicals in the body that can cause respiratory difficulties

If you have a severe allergy to a known anaphylaxis trigger, a doctor can prescribe an auto-injectable device that contains epinephrine, also known as an EpiPen. This medication can quickly reverse severe allergy symptoms. 

What other symptoms can allergies cause?

Aside from dizziness, allergy symptoms commonly include: 

In addition to dizziness, anaphylaxis can cause more severe symptoms. These include:  

People react differently to allergies, and your body can respond in new ways each time you’re exposed to an allergen. You could also develop new allergies. 

When should you see a doctor about allergy-related dizziness?

Contact a doctor if OTC allergy medications aren’t providing relief or your dizziness is worsening. Difficulty breathing or symptoms of anaphylaxis are a medical emergency and require immediate attention. 

Summary

Allergic rhinitis, when allergies cause nasal inflammation, can cause dizziness due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. This tube, which connects your middle ears to your throat, plays a key role in balance.

Severe allergies can also cause dizziness if you’re experiencing anaphylaxis. Airborne allergens such as mold and pollen typically cause allergic rhinitis, while some foods, medications, and insect stings are responsible for anaphylaxis.

Addressing allergy-related dizziness involves treating your allergies. If OTC allergy medication isn’t providing relief, talk with a doctor about prescription treatments. These may include allergy shots, steroid treatments, or leukotriene receptor antagonists.

Contact a doctor about treating allergy-related dizziness and other symptoms.

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  1. Al-Abri, R., et al. (2018). Allergic rhinitis in relation to food allergies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5892810/
  2. Derebery, M. J., et al. (2020). Allergy, immunotherapy, and alternative treatments for dizziness. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0030666521001213
  3. Ma, Y, et al. (2020). Eustachian tube dysfunction in patients with house dust mite-allergic rhinitis. https://ctajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13601-020-00328-9
  4. Recognizing and responding to anaphylaxis. (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/recognizing-responding-to-anaphylaxis-508.pdf

Medical Reviewer: Marc Meth, MD, FACAAI, FAAAI
Last Review Date: 2023 Feb 2
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