August 25, 2008
ALLERGY sufferers who experience a bout of stress can be more likely to suffer a potentially life-threatening reaction a day later, a new study shows.
Research suggests people with hay fever and other allergies may become more sensitive to stimuli 24 hours after being anxious.
Scientists warned that these delayed reactions were generally not affected by the most common allergy treatments, such as antihistamines.
The researchers examined 28 seasonal allergy sufferers before and after exposing them to stress.
In skin prick allergy tests they found the participants developed wheals on their arms twice as big when highly stressed as when they were unstressed.
A day later they were still four times as likely to react more violently.
Study author Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University, said allergies were not minor problems and could be deadly.
She added: "What's interesting about this is that it shows that being stressed can cause a person's allergies to worsen the next day."
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