Allergy season is here! We caught up with Tori in the Discovery Co-op Pharmacy to ask how best to combat those nasty seasonal allergy symptoms.
When do people typically notice seasonal allergy symptoms?
Spring and fall are common times for seasonal allergies to flare up. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy/watery/red eyes.
What medication do you recommend?
First line products are typically our oral antihistamine products. These include Reactine, Claritin, Aerius, and Allegra, which are very well tolerated by most people. They help with most symptoms, although they may be less effective against nasal congestion.
Who can take these types of products?
These products are safe in adults and children down to 2 years old (except Allegra), but the dosing for young children is not typically on the packaging so come ask one of our pharmacists if you’re buying for a child younger than 6 years old.
These medications are also not usually recommended in pregnancy. If you are pregnant and experiencing allergy symptoms, come chat with a pharmacist to find a product that is safe for you.
How often should someone take these medications?
It's important to take these medications regularly and before the exposure for best effect. Try to take them every day of the season in which your allergies flare up. It's also important to know that some people respond better to certain products, so if something isn't working for you, make sure to come see your pharmacist and we can recommend another product to try.
You mentioned some great options, but I noticed you didn't mention Benadryl...
There are other older antihistamines, such as Benadryl, that can be used when fighting seasonal allergies, however they are associated with more side effects, such as drowsiness and constipation. Always check with your pharmacist to see if there is something that might offer similar relief with fewer side effects.
What do you recommend for someone with nasal congestion?
If congestion is your main concern, there are oral products such as pseudoephedrine that can help. These products are kept behind the counter at our pharmacy, as they can cause some side effects such as trouble sleeping and increased blood pressure, so we usually like to talk with patients before they try these products.
Another option for congestion is a nasal spray. Flonase is a steroid that is available without a prescription, or pharmacists can prescribe other nasal sprays after doing a quick assessment. These products can take several days to weeks for the full effect.
Have more questions for Tori or the Pharmacy team? Stop in or give them a call!