From fall leaves to spring pollen, allergies can strike during any season for many reasons. People might be allergic to dust, certain foods and other common environmental elements. Because people with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to allergies, it is essential to discover how to minimize the symptoms.

  • The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports almost 50 million Americans suffer with allergies. Allergies are an autoimmune disorder and so is type 1 diabetes. Many people with type 1 or 2 diabetes also have allergies. The body’s response to allergens is to fight them. As a result, you experience symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, congestion and a dry throat. Sometimes your eyes are itchy and you get swelling of the face, lips, tongue or hands. Other symptoms include heaviness in the chest and difficulty breathing as well as a stomachache and bloating.
  • Allergies may cause your body to get dehydrated. When people with diabetes suffer dehydration, it may lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels and elevate your heart rate. Drink filtered water throughout the day to prevent the release of histamine. Your body releases histamine to stop water loss and this triggers allergy symptoms. Stay hydrated to ward off allergy symptoms and avoid blood sugar surges.
  • Certain foods could aggravate allergy symptoms. You may need to avoid beverages and foods that produce mucous including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Be aware that alcohol such as red wine contains sulfites. This may cause headaches in certain people. Drinking alcohol can also cause fluctuating blood sugar levels. Because allergy symptoms can impact your blood sugar levels, make sure to test your blood sugar regularly.
  • Talk to your health care provider about getting tested for food allergies. Food intolerances may increase insulin resistance, inflammation and autoimmune destruction of cells. It also helps to limit saturated fat in your diet.
  • Often people believe they can avoid allergy symptoms if they stay indoors. This does not work if your indoor air contains allergens. Clean your furnace and air conditioner filters. An air filter tower can help minimize your allergy symptoms. Another option is a humidifier if the air in your home or workplace is dry. If you are allergic to pollen, try to stay indoors during the early morning hours before noon when the pollen levels tend to be the highest.
  • Certain allergy medications can elevate your blood sugar levels. Discuss this with your doctor prior to taking over-the-counter or prescription medications for allergies. The five types of allergy medications include oral and nasal decongestants, corticosteroids, oral or nasal antihistamines as well as allergy shots or oral drops.
  • Some allergy remedies have few or no side effects. You can relieve allergy symptoms with saline eye or nasal drops or a Neti-pot with sterile saline solution. OTC options include diabetic mucus relief pills and diabetic cough drops. Acupuncture is another method that may people with allergies get relief.
  • Some doctors might recommend using a nebulizer to reduce allergy symptoms. This device uses prescription medicine and turns it into a mist form that you can breathe in. The mist gets absorbed by your body faster than other medications to ease your symptoms right away. Let the doctor know you have diabetes and what medications you take before using a nebulizer. Allergy testing can help medical professionals pinpoint and treat your symptoms.

Allergies may complicate the symptoms associated with diabetes. Allergy testing can help doctors find viable ways to reduce your discomfort and minimize diabetic complications. Always talk to your medical health care team before taking any medications.