By DAVE RANDOLPH
Seasonal allergies are packing a punch this year. If cutting the lawn gives you a sneezing fit or if you are congested with a scratchy throat after being outside, you may have allergies associated with pollen or hay fever. Itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and sore throat are all symptoms that can be caused by seasonal allergies. Simply avoiding the allergen and using a face mask can improve symptoms significantly.
First line of treatment are corticosteroid nasal sprays such as Nasacort and Flonase. Nasal sprays are especially beneficial to treat nasal and ocular symptoms including itching and congestion.
Itchy eyes are a common symptom this time of year. The best option to treat this is Ketotifen, applying one drop into the affected eye(s) twice daily.
To ensure complete coverage, pairing the nasal spray or eye drops with an oral allergy medication is the most effective route of treatment. Oral allergy medications are much more difficult to sort through. Sedating medications, such as Benadryl and chlorpheniramine, are faster acting, must be taken every 4-6 hours and cause significant drowsiness. Non-sedating medications, such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra and Xyzal, are longer acting, can be taken once a day, and cause varying degrees of drowsiness. Each medication may have a different effect in people. Xyzal is considered the least sedating, but a different medication may work better for you. Trial and error is the best way to decide which non-sedating is best for you.
Allergies come around every year. To ensure you can enjoy being outside the entirety of the summer, start these medications early. Non-sedating oral allergy medications can be started 2-4 weeks prior to onset of symptoms and can be taken until for an extended period of time. The best policy when deciding on an allergy regimen is to try a product and if it works stick with it. If what you are using isn’t working, changing the product may be very beneficial.
Your pharmacist is always glad to lend a helping hand when deciphering through the immense amount of products in the over-the-counter section. Stop by and let us help you make it through allergy season!