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Seasonal Allergies. By Our June Student Pharmacist, Mackenzie Piché.


Allergy season is in full-swing in Central Ohio. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans plagued by seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, you may be dealing with one or more of the following bothersome symptoms:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Itchy/watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore or Itchy Throat

Experts agree that avoiding your allergy triggers is the most important thing you can do to decrease symptoms. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor allergies under control this season:

  1. Stay indoors during periods of high pollen or mold counts (you can check your local weather stations for reports on counts: go HERE to do that).
  2. Shower and wash clothing after spending time outdoors.
  3. Avoid hanging clothing and bedding outside to dry.
  4. Keep windows closed, instead use air conditioning.
  5. If your doctor has prescribed an allergy medication for you, be sure to take or use it every day, as directed.

allergy free

Looking for Relief?

Overview of Over-the-Counter Treatment Options for Adults

Treatment selection can be made based on symptoms and individual preference, while also taking into consideration any other conditions you may have. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to discuss which treatment is best for you.

Saline Nasal Spray


  • Simply Saline (Sterile Saline Solution)
  • Ayr (Sterile Saline Solution)

How they work: Help to remove dried, crusted mucus from the nose.

Glucocorticoid Nasal Spray


  • Flonase Allergy Relief (Fluticasone)
  • Nasacort Allergy 24 HR (Triamcinolone)
  • Rhinocort Allergy Spray (Budesonide)

How these sprays work: Decrease inflammation and congestion to alleviate sneezing and runny or stuffy nose.

  • Patient Note: May take 3 to 7 days for maximum symptom relief to occur.

When to Avoid: If you have glaucoma or cataracts.

Oral Antihistamines


  • Claritin (Loratadine)
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)
  • Allegra (Fexofenadine)
  • Xyzal (Levocetirizine)

How they work: Prevent histamine release, which is responsible for symptoms like itching, runny nose, and sneezing.

  • Patient Note: These products do not cause drowsiness in most patients. Of the available products, cetirizine has the highest incidence of drowsiness, affecting about 14% of adults.

When to avoid: If breastfeeding; Consult a doctor before taking if you have liver or kidney problems

Decongestant Nasal Sprays


  • Afrin (Oxymetazoline)
  • Neo-Synephrine (Phenylephrine)

How these sprays work: Constrict vessels in the nose to stimulate clearing of mucus from the nasal passages.

  • Patient Note: These products should be used for short-term allergy relief only. Using for more than 2 or 3 days can cause “rebound” congestion and return of symptoms.

Oral Decongestants


  • Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine)
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)

*Also available in combination with antihistamines (i.e. Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D).

How these products work: Constrict vessels in the nose to stimulate clearing of mucus from the nasal passages.

  • Patient Note: Pseudoephedrine products are only available for sale from behind the pharmacy counter.

When to avoid: If you have high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, or glaucoma.

Nasal Cromolyn


  • NasalCrom (Cromolyn)

How it works: Decreases histamine release in the nose, leading to less mucus release, itching, and sneezing.

  • Patient Note: May take 3 to 7 days to begin working and 2 to 4 weeks to see the full effect.

Drug of choice for: Older adults and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


When to see a doctor:

  • Children <12 years old
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Symptoms of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), like shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Symptoms of an ear infection (pain, hearing loss)
  • Symptoms of a sinus infection (sinus pressure or headache, tooth pain, congestion lasting 7-10 days that does not respond to treatment with OTC decongestants)
  • Side effects experienced with over-the-counter (OTC) treatment
  • Symptoms not improved with OTC treatment

Note: Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before beginning a new over-the-counter medication.












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