April 22, 2021
Brooke Lucas, PharmD Candidate 2021
With the arrival of warm weather and sunshine, many individuals are beginning to spend more time outdoors. However, with this beautiful weather often comes the dreaded seasonal allergies.
The blooming of plants means the spreading of pollen. This pollen not only turns your car yellow, but it can also trigger your immune system to react. This reaction can lead to the symptoms of:
· runny nose
· stuffy nose
· watery eyes
· itching of the eyes or nose
Thankfully, though there are some non-medication measures that can be taken to reduce your pollen exposure.
· Check your local news or radio station for the pollen count and avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
· Pollen counts are usually highest in the morning so try to avoid being outdoors during this time.
· Typically, the best time for outdoor activities is after a rain as it helps clear pollen from the air.
· After spending time outdoors, change your clothes and shower to remove any lingering pollen from your body.
· Wear an N-95 rated mask while doing yard work or gardening.
· Close car windows as well as house windows and doors.
If needed for symptom-relief, over-the-counter medications are available. Below are a few over-the-counter options:
· Oral Antihistamines can treat symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes. Products include: loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
· Oral and Nasal Decongestants can treat symptoms of a stuffy nose. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is an example of an oral decongestant. Oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) are examples of nasal decongestants. The use of nasal decongestants should be limited to a few days at a time as long-term use can worsen symptoms.
· Saline Nasal Irrigation can alleviate nasal stuffiness. The rinsing of the nasal passages helps in removing mucus and allergens from the nose. A neti pot is an example of this irrigation product.