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Seasonal Allergies and Diabetes

Mar 30, 2016

S

pring is here and with that comes seasonal allergies. Do seasonal allergies affect your patient’s blood sugars? When searching online to see if there was a connection between allergies and blood sugars, I did not see much formal research in that area. I did see some patient forums where people with diabetes said that they did see fluctuations in their blood sugars when their allergies were bad. It would make sense if the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America calls nasal allergies “Rhinitis” which is inflammation of the nose since inflammation in other areas of the body can cause blood sugar changes. Overall, I did not see a connection between just having allergies and blood sugar.

However, there are some things to consider when reviewing blood glucose log books from seasonal allergy sufferers. If the patient is taking an OTC or prescription nasal spray it may contain steroids. Steroids can stimulate the liver to make more glucose causing higher levels. If you are seeing a connection between taking the allergy medication and blood sugar levels, then have your patient discuss with their doctor non-steroidal options such as an OTC decongestant nasal spray or an OTC antihistamine nasal spray.


If you are seeing a connection between taking the allergy medication and blood sugar levels, then have your patient discuss with their doctor non-steroidal options.



Your patient can also discuss some preventative measures against seasonal allergies with their doctor. I love using a form of nasal irrigation like a Neti Pot. I use a mixture of medical grade fine salt and water in a syringe. It is very similar to a Neti Pot but it’s a little more user-friendly. This form of nasal cleansing was recommended by an ear, nose and throat doctor I saw for allergies and it really works by flushing out the allergens in my nose. There are several options available online.

To reduce pollen exposure, WebMD also recommends showering after spending time outdoors to remove the pollen from your hair and body. Closing windows and using good air filters in your home and car help reduce exposure. Walking outdoors on cooler days or days that it has just rained helps the pollen fall to the ground.

What have you found when working with your patients with seasonal allergies? Have you had to adjust insulin? Please share connections you have seen below.


Amy Campbell

About the Author

Amy Campbell is a dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She currently works in public health in Lexington, Kentucky and has been working in diabetes for over seven years.

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