Can Allergies Cause a Cough, Headache, and Joint Pain?

Sneezing, itchy, runny, stuffy nose. Watery eyes. Hives.

These are the symptoms that we tend to associate with allergies. While these are the most common symptoms, is it possible that allergies could cause more?

Many people may experience a cough, headache, and even joint pain. These additional symptoms may also be related to allergic reactions.

In this article, we’ll explore how a cough, headache, and joint pain are other symptoms of allergies to look out for.

allergies cough headache joint pain

The Many Faces of Allergies

You may blame the pollen in the air or your furry friend for the allergy symptoms. The truth is, all these substances are harmless.

It is your immune system that perceives them as harmful causing an unpleasant response. This is why you experience allergy symptoms.

People will allergies will experience a variety of symptoms. Although, it depends on the allergen that causes them.

Allergic reactions affect different parts of the body including the nose and airways, sinuses, digestive tract, and skin.

This means someone experiencing an allergic reaction may suffer from a cough, headache, or joint pain. Joint pain is due to inflammation caused by the allergen.

So, your answer is yes. Allergies can cause a cough, headaches, and joint pain.

The response to allergens varies from one person to another. Many cases are mild. But severe and life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis, can happen in rare cases.

Let’s look at the different types of allergies and common symptoms associated with each.

Types of Allergies

There are different types of allergies and each has their own set of symptoms.

Food Allergies

Allergens such as food can cause hives, tingling of the mouth, and swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat.

Drug Allergies

Someone with an allergy to medications can expect hives, skin rashes, itchy skin, swelling of the face, wheezing, and sometimes anaphylaxis.

Insect Sting Allergies

Bee or wasp stings are two of the most common insect sting allergies. Symptoms can include inflammation of the sting site and itchy hives. Coughing, along with difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, and wheezing can also develop.

Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

People experience hay fever when allergens cause the nose to become inflamed. Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, cough, itchiness of the nose, eyes, and mouth. People may also experience watering eyes too.

woman with a cough due to allergies

Cough as an Allergy Symptom

A cough is a symptom of hay fever and can be experienced in other forms of allergies. It’s most commonly experienced with insect allergies.

Chemical irritants like paint, mold, dust, pollen and cold weather can trigger coughs. Coughing is the body’s self-defense mechanism. It tries to eliminate harmful substances by clearing the respiratory tract.

If you have a persistent cough that tends to get worse at night, you may have an allergic postnasal drip. This condition is characterized by excess mucus or thick mucus felt in the back of the nose and throat.

Joint Pain and Allergies

You may not be aware of this, but allergies can also manifest with chronic joint pain.

Dr. Mark T. O’Hollaren from Oregon Science University explains allergens are responsible for joint pain because they stimulate the immune system and cause inflammation.

Fatigue is also associated with allergies, and fatigue also goes hand in hand with achy muscles and joints.

Allergies Causing a Headache

Headaches are a symptom of many conditions that mimic allergies. These include colds, the flu, and sinus infections. This is due to the fact that they all share symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Allergies can trigger migraines.

The exact link between headaches and allergies is not known.

There is research supporting the fact that the nervous system, hormones, and immune system are all connected. The nervous system is more sensitive to those prone to migraines. On top of that, there may be exposed to an allergen triggering an allergic reaction. This can further fuel the inflammation in the body, which can lead to a headache or migraine. In some cases, migraines are triggered by perfume or other strong odors, or weather changes.

If the allergies are the cause of a headache or migraine, a person will often experience sinus pain. This pain is usually felt behind the cheekbones and forehead. Some may also experience a throbbing headache affecting one side, nausea, or vomiting. Symptoms worsen when exposed to bright light or loud noises.

If seasonal allergies trigger these headaches, you’ll get them during the spring, summer, and fall.


Severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, are life-threatening medical emergencies. This is because of the risk of getting into anaphylactic shock.

Certain foods, insect stings, and drugs can cause anaphylaxis. The prevalence of anaphylaxis has been dramatically increased in the last few decades. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, anaphylaxis occurs in about one in 50 Americans with allergies. However, it is believed that the actual rate is higher than that, probably closer to 1 in 20.

female doctor for allergies

Knowing and being able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis is critical. These symptoms include:

  • Significant drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness

If you or someone you know with an allergy has these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Allergies Causing a Cough, Headache, and Joint Pain

There are many different symptoms that appear when someone experiences an allergic reaction. The main symptoms we are familiar with include congestion of the nose, itchy skin or nose, and watering eyes.

Depending on the types of allergies, one may have a headache, cough, or joint pain. A headache and cough often appear during the spring, summer, and fall due to seasonal allergies. Joint pain is caused by inflammation from the immune system reacting to an allergen.

Allergies can be a tricky thing as they range from mild to severe reactions. The more you read and learn about them, the better you’ll be able to manage them.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *