As temperatures increase and we spend more time outdoors, many of us find that allergies begin to affect us. Runny eyes, sneezing, runny and stuffed up noses, and an irritating cough from a post nasal drip start to take their toll and ruin our time outside. Some don’t even realize they have allergies and may think it is their “spring time cold”. The first question may be: “What is an allergy?”. Allergies occur when the body overreacts to a trigger known as an allergen. Allergens can be pollen, dust, or pet dander and may be seasonal or last year round. When the body reacts to an allergen, it can release many different inflammatory substances such as histamine, prostaglandins, cytokines, tryptases, chemokines, and leukotrienes.
What options are available to allergy sufferers to stop their symptoms so they can enjoy the outdoors once again?
- Sinus Rinses – this is a great way to remove allergens and mucous from the sinuses. While it does take a little time to get used to doing (no one is too excited to spray water up their noses), they help wash away the problem and bring relief!
- Antihistamine Tablets – there are many great options for a once daily, non drowsy antihistamine. Starting these before allergy season brings the best results, however trying one after symptoms have started will also help. For best symptom relief, tablets should be taken daily while the allergen is still present.
- Intranasal Corticosteroid Nasal Spray - reduces inflammation and blocks more of your body’s chemical response to allergens. These sprays are used daily to prevent and eliminate symptoms. Talk to one of our pharmacists about which product would be right for you.
- Allergy Eye Drops – stops the body’s response to allergens and works directly on eye symptoms. Make sure to buy drops without a decongestant – these can remove redness, but the body easily becomes dependent on them after a few days.
- Allergy Avoidance – this can sometimes be the easiest or hardest to achieve! Many websites will tell you the pollen in your area and you can decide whether it is worth going outdoors or having the windows open. If you do have to be outside, avoiding areas where pollen may collect is important. As well, washing your clothes when you go back inside and having a shower can reduce the allergens that remain on your body.