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Seasonal Allergies: How to Outrun Your Nose! By Our June Student Pharmacist, Mark Buenger.


Allergy season is back once again, making millions of Americans uncomfortable and emptying out tissue boxes faster than a speeding bullet!

Warmer weather brings spores from fungi and molds, as well as pollen from trees, grass, and flowers. If you are suffering from symptoms like sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and watery eyes, keep on reading to find some helpful pointers for relief.

So, first thing’s first. What can you do to limit exposure to pollen and mold?

✓ Check pollen counts for your area. There are numerous resources you can use for this such as local TV, radio, and newspapers.

Pollen.com will give you a specific pollen forecast for your zip code, as will weather.com (under More Forecasts).

✓ Keep your doors and windows closed during pollen season.
✓ Avoid drying your laundry outside.
✓ Use air conditioning in both your house and your car.
✓ Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning because pollen counts are highest.
✓ Use a dehumidifier.
✓ Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom and an allergy-grade filter in the ventilation system.
✓ Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves. If this must be done, wear a face mask.

If doing these things does not help, you may want to consider seeking relief from non-prescription medications.

There are three main classes of medications that work in a variety of ways leading to different effects.

The first class of these medications is the antihistamines. Medications in this class include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

These medications help to relieve the itching, sneezing, and runny nose. The effectiveness of these medications is similar, but they can cause different levels of drowsiness. Benadryl will cause you to be the drowsiest. Zyrtec tends to cause a little drowsiness, while Claritin and Allegra do not cause drowsiness.


Another class of medication for seasonal allergies is nasal sprays. Medications in this class include Flonase and Nasacort.

These medications are effective at preventing and treating nasal inflammation, itching, and a runny nose. Nasacort typically relieves nasal symptoms while Flonase relieves both nasal and eye symptoms. Both medications should be used daily and can take a few days to a week to have the most effect. One thing to look out for with these medications would be a change in your sense of taste or smell.

The final class of medication I would like to discuss is the decongestants. The major medication in this class is pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). This medication will work to relieve a stuffy nose. You want to use caution when using this medication if you have high blood pressure as Sudafed can cause an increase.

There are many combination products that combine antihistamines and decongestants such as Zyrtec D, Claritin D and Allegra D. These medications help to relieve a variety of allergy symptoms.

You may need to see your doctor if:
✓ Non-prescription medications do not provide relief.
✓ You are experiencing severe symptoms.
✓ Allergies lead to chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, or difficulty breathing.
✓ You are experiencing the warning signs of serious asthma.

So, use this information, be smart about going outside, and you will be able to outrun your nose this allergy season!




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