Hay fever and sinus pressure may cause headaches. However, this pain is not a typical allergy symptom.

Two types of headaches are associated with allergies: sinus headaches and migraine headaches.

Overall, it is important to consult a doctor if headaches are persistent, worsening, or if they accompany other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light or noise.

In this article, we explore what people may mean by an “allergy headache,” as well as the link between this type of pain and an allergic reaction.

What is an allergy headache?

Some people use the term “allergy headache,” though there is no clear, widely accepted definition.

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, can cause a headache, possibly due to swelling in the sinus passages. However, headaches are not a typical symptom of hay fever.

The link between allergies and headaches

Rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal passages, and it often results from an environmental allergy. In this case, the issue is called allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

Hay fever can cause several symptoms, but a headache is not typical, researchers of a 2016 investigation observe.


Allergic rhinitis can lead to rhinosinusitis, which is inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses, and this can occasionally lead to headaches.

However, headaches commonly attributed to sinusitis may more often stem from migraine.

Both health issues can also cause a runny nose, nasal congestion, and watery eyes. Also, both may worsen due to changes in the weather and exposure to allergens. These similarities can lead to confusion.

Sinus headaches occur when the sinuses are swollen, obstructing the nasal passages and leading to a buildup of pressure. The result can be pain at the top of the head or behind the cheeks.

However, sinus headaches are fairly rare and usually only result from severe inflammation, as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology observe.

Meanwhile, an older study, from 2004, found that 88% of people who believed that they were having a sinus headache were actually having a migraine headache.


It can be difficult to distinguish between a headache caused by migraine and one caused by sinus inflammation and pressure.



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