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Seasonal Allergies: Nip Them in the Bud! By Our June Student Pharmacist, Megan Chaney.

It’s that time of year again! Allergy season! Mold growth blooms inside and outside with spring rains. Additionally, as flowers, trees, weeds, and grasses blossom, allergies will soon follow.

As we move into summer, warm temperatures and high humidity can continue to cause problems, because summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog, and mold. If you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies and suffer from sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and other bothersome symptoms, here are some helpful tips to relieve your most annoying allergy symptoms.

  • Know the pollen counts for your area. Check your TV, radio station, local newspaper, or Pollen.com to get an “allergy forecast” for your zip code. Tree pollen counts are high in spring, while grass pollen is highest in summer, and weed pollen in fall.
  • Avoid outdoor allergy triggers. Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest. The best time to go outside is after it rains, because the rain helps to clear pollen from the air.
  • Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly cut grass.
  • Close doors and windows at night or at any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline.
  • Shower before going to bed, because pollen can stick to your skin and hair and accumulate in your bedding.
  • Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.
  • Vacuum twice a week.
  • Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.

If you are suffering from allergy symptoms and the above suggestions are not providing relief, it may be time to consider non-prescription medications, such as:

  • Antihistamines: These type of medications help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include: loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra). Other antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), work well, but can cause more drowsiness.
  • Nasal sprays: Steroid nasal sprays, such as Nasacort, can reduce allergic inflammation and make it easier to breath. For many decongestant nasal sprays, such as Afrin, be sure to use as directed, because they should only be used for up to three days or they could make your symptoms worse.
  • Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can help to temporarily relieve a stuffy nose.
  • Know when to see your doctor. If over-the-counter allergy medications don’t work; if your symptoms are severe; or if you’re prone to secondary infections or worsening of asthma or other respiratory conditions, it may be time to schedule a doctor’s visit.
  • Combination medications: Many antihistamines are available in combination with decongestants, including Zyrtec D, Claritin D, and Allegra D in order to provide relief of a variety of allergy symptoms.





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