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Five Tips to Surviving the Spring Allergy Season

Viet Nguyen, PharmD

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Mar 30th, 2015

Spring Flowers

What keeps you indoors more than a snow blizzard in winter? Could it be the warm, blooming breezes of spring when your seasonal allergy symptoms kick in? You may be one of the people whose sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes prevent them from enjoying the spring season. The culprits of these symptoms are the tiny pollen grains from trees, weeds, and grasses that are carried by the wind. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to these substances, which cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, and skin. However, these symptoms are preventable and manageable with the following strategies and treatments.

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) here are five easy ways to combat seasonal allergies:

Keep your home allergen-free:

    • Close your windows and use air conditioning in the house
    • Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom
    • Clean the floors frequently using a vacuum with a HEPA filter
    • Use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor air dry

Be aware of outdoor allergy triggers:

    • Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high
    • The AAAAI’s National Allergy BureauTM reports accurate pollen and mold levels across the United States
    • Take preventative measures by taking allergy medications before you have symptoms when high pollen counts are forecasted
    • Remove clothes that were worn outside and take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair

Try over-the-counter oral allergy remedies:

    • Antihistamines such as loratidine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, chlorpheniramine, and diphenhydramine can prevent and treat allergy symptoms
    • Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are often combined with an antihistamine for additional relief of congestion
    • Allergy medications work best if you take them before you first come into contact with spring allergens

Consider nasal sprays or eye drops:

  • Saline nasal sprays help rinse out allergens and irritants from the nose
  • Artificial tears may help reduce eye irritation, and over-the-counter allergy eye drops such as ketotifen or nephazoline can treat itchy eyes
  • If eye symptoms are severe, your doctor can recommend prescription eye drops

Ask your doctor or an allergist about allergy shots:

    • Allergy shots are a treatment option that provides long-term relief of allergies
    • Allergy shots may be an option if your symptoms are severe and you have poor response to medications, your allergens cannot be avoided, or if you do not want to take long-term allergy medications
    • Treatment begins with weekly injections of gradually increasing doses, followed by monthly maintenance injections for at least 3 to 5 years 

With these strategies and remedies, you can do more running than your nose in the spring. Take control of your allergies and ask your local Albertsons pharmacist for medication related recommendations.

Viet Nguyen, PharmD, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He is currently the Community Pharmacy Resident at Acme Sav-on Pharmacy and Temple University. 

References:

  1. Allergies. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies.aspx. Accessed January 22, 2015.
  2. Pollen allergy. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/allergicDiseases/understanding/pollenallergy/Pages/default.aspx. Published June 7, 2012. Updated June 7, 2012. Accessed January 22, 2015.
  3. Patient information: Allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies). UpToDate. Updated June 19, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2015.

 

 

 

One Response to Five Tips to Surviving the Spring Allergy Season

  1. Luke Smith 15/11/2016 at 3:37 pm

    I didn’t realize that even a saline nasal spray could help wash out allergens and irritants. I imagine regularly making use of such a spray would make it much easier to prevent buildups of allergens and keep your nose clear and open. There may be nasal sprays specific to allergies as well, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to consult with a physician when choosing an option to use.

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