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Seasonal Allergies. By Anna Gehres (Pharmacy Student for Only a Short Season Longer)

Spring means more than flowers and warm days for many. For those that suffer from seasonal allergies, Spring means sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, and itchy/watery eyes. At least 10% of the U.S. population has seasonal allergies. The most common causes of seasonal allergies are grass, weeds, and trees.

Here are some ways to prevent allergies:

–       Shower and change clothes after being outdoors

–       Try to stay indoors on dry, windy days

–       Avoid lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other activities that stir up allergens

–       When planning outdoor activities consider checking your local pollen count first: http://www.weather.com/activities/health/allergies/

If preventing exposure to allergies is not possible, there are several products that can be purchased without a prescription to treat seasonal allergies.

Anti-allergy or antihistamines

These medicines help with sneezing, runny nose and itchy/watery eyes. The most common antihistamines include: Claritin® (loratadine), Zyrtec® (cetirizine), Allegra® (fexofenadine), and Benadryl® (diphenhydramine). Newer medicines such as Claritin® and Allegra® cause less drowsiness than older medicines such as Benadryl®.


Decongestants can help relieve stuffy, congested noses. The most common decongestant is Sudafed® (pseudoephedrine). Common side effects of nasal decongestants are insomnia and increased blood pressure.

Afrin® (oxymetazoline) is a nasal spray that relieves congestion. It is useful to reduce congestion, but should only be used short-term (3 or less days).

Saline nasal rinses

Using saline nasal rinses can help reduce nasal congestion and nasal irritation. Pre-mixed saline is available in nasal sprays and drops.

Some medications used to treat allergies should not be taken if you have certain medical conditions. Just give us a call or stop by the pharmacy and we will help you pick the right product for you!

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