Spring is here and so is allergy season! In order for you and your family to be prepared for the changes that come with warmer temperatures, it is important to know what causes allergies, their symptoms and how to treat them.
The main cause of spring time seasonal allergies is pollen released from trees as they begin to bloom. However, allergy sufferers can be affected by several other triggers at any time. Pet dander, dust mites, mold, poison ivy and oak, insects, food and drugs can all trigger allergies. When an allergen enters your body, your immune system recognizes it as a foreign object and attacks it, eventually leading to the release of histamine. This is what causes allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, cough and congestion. Allergies can also cause rash, hives, swelling itching and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is when allergy symptoms cause the entire body to suddenly react and can be life-threatening.
There are several ways to treat allergies. If possible, avoiding triggers is the best way to prevent symptoms. Try keeping your windows and doors closed and change your central air filter often.
Antihistamines, such as Claritin and Zyrtec, are often used as first line treatment for seasonal allergies. Sometimes, these are combined with decongestants to help relieve nasal congestion. There are nasal sprays and eye drops to provide relief for localized symptoms. Anti-inflammatory creams can also be used for skin reactions. Finally, for anaphylactic reactions, epinephrine should be readily available to help reverse these severe symptoms.
General tips for treating allergies:
- Non drowsy antihistamines are preferred.
- Benadryl should be reserved for more severe allergies when drowsiness isn’t a concern.
- Use generic products when they’re available.
- Sudafed should be reserved for cases involving severe congestion.
- Antihistamine (Benadryl) creams are usually ineffective.
- Corticosteroid (Hydrocortisone) creams and ointments will produce greater results.
Many products intended to treat allergies can be found over the counter at your local pharmacy. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to come in and see us at Gibson’s Pharmacy and we will be happy to help you find relief and enjoy spring time!