ALLERGIC DISEASES AND COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT

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Sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes and a running nose aren’t the only symptoms of allergic diseases. Many people with allergic diseases also report feeling “slower and drowsy”.

ALLERGIC DISEASES AND COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT

When their allergies are acting up, they have trouble with concentrating and remembering. For instance, allergic rhinitis can be associated with:


  • Decreased ability to concentrate and function.
  • Activity limitation
  • Decreased decision-making capacity
  • Impaired hand-eye coordination
  • Problems remembering things
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Missed days at work or school
  • More motor vehicle accidents
  • More school or work injuries

Many parents of children with allergic rhinitis observe increased bad moods and irritability in their child’s behaviour during the allergy season.

Since children cannot always express their uncomfortable or pain symptoms verbally, they may express their discomfort by acting up at school and at home.

It is important that the irritability or other symptoms caused by ear, nose or throat trouble are not mistaken for attention deficit disorder. With proper treatment, symptoms can be kept under control and disruptions in learning and behaviour can be avoided.

Some allergy therapies may even cause some cognitive or mental impairment, eg. decongestants can cause problems with getting sleep, appetite loss and irritability which can contribute to allergy problems.

Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, regularly taking may lead to a feeling of constant sluggishness affecting learning, memory and performance.

Solutions:

With all the allergic diseases, the best way to control your symptoms is to avoid coming into contact with your triggers “Allergens”. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid the substances that cause symptoms. If your allergens can’t be avoided your Allergist can help you to diagnose the allergen or allergens responsible to your symptoms and then suggest immunotherapy “allergy vaccine”. Immunotherapy is used to treat allergy to pollen, ragweed, dust mites, animal dander and other allergens. This process gradually desensitizes you to these substances by changing the way your body’s immune system responds to them.

For example, if you are allergic to Bermuda grass, immunotherapy treatment involves injecting a tiny amount of Bermuda grass pollen extract under your skin weekly or orally daily for a period.

Getting allergy symptoms under control can help you sleep at night and function during the day. Treating allergies sooner rather than later can help prevent disruptions in learning and behaviour.

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