Effects of seasonal allergic rhinitis on fatigue levels and mood

Psychosom Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;64(4):684-91. doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000021944.35402.44.


Objective: Many allergy patients complain of fatigue, moodiness, and dysphoria during their allergy seasons. This study evaluated the effect of symptomatic allergic rhinitis on both fatigue level and mood.

Method: Symptomatic ragweed allergic rhinitis patients on no medications and healthy control subjects completed the Multi-Dimensional Fatigue Inventory and the Positive Affect-Negative Affect mood rating scales in an in-out-in ragweed season research design.

Results: During ragweed seasons, allergic patients reported higher levels of general fatigue and mental fatigue, but not physical fatigue, as well as reduced motivation. Patients described experiencing feelings of greater sadness and reduced pleasurable engagement. Increased anxiety or emotional distress was not reported.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that having allergic reactions to ragweed pollen causes significant fatigue and mood changes in at least a subgroup of patients. Psychoneuroimmunology and medical genetics research suggests that allergic reactions engender biochemical changes that directly affect the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / complications*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / diagnosis
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Wechsler Scales


  • Interleukin-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha