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How to Minimize Spring Allergies



Mar 13th, 2013

Little girl blowing her nose

I’ve always had allergies, since I was a little kid. Over the years I have managed to avoid things that give me trouble, but every spring and fall I seem to have a tough time with all the pollen and airborne irritants that aggravate my sinuses. I still have to breathe the air, right?

As a pharmacist, and an allergy sufferer, I have learned some nifty tricks over the years, that can minimize the impact of spring allergies if you take action BEFORE things get into full bloom, but first, I want to give you some insight into what actually happens that causes all these problems.

 A crazy little thing called histamine

Histamine plays in important role in helping our body handle tissue damage, but sometimes, the body will release gigantic amounts of histamine in response to normally harmless substances like pollen. It’s the histamine released into our tissues that causes symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, breathing difficulties, and tissue swelling. The bad news is that once this histamine is released, it’s really hard to calm the tissue back down and feel like a normal human being again. For me, that could take weeks.

Here’s the trick. You’ve heard of antihistamines. Maybe that makes more sense now. These medications BLOCK the release of histamine into tissue. This is preventative medicine. The trick is to get started on an antihistamine BEFORE contact with the pollen or whatever else may cause an allergic reaction. Here’s another trick. One dose, once in a while, won’t be very effective. These medicines work better if taken regularly so they can provide continuous blockage against the release of histamine into the tissue. Remember once that happens, it’s too late.

There are lots of good antihistamines on the market. Ask any of our pharmacists if you need some help. I like the 24 hour product cetirizine (generic for Zyrtec), which is effective and does not cause most people to feel drowsy. I just get started before the spring allergy season and keep taking it until the pollen count is down. Once a day and I’m good to go. Keeps things from getting started and I like it that way.

So lets hear it to a happy and healthy spring!

~ Ron Kaz

**This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your primary care physician.

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