Pass the tissues, please. The latest pollen count for DuPont is moderate to high, with birch, alder and cedar trees being the primary suspects of recent attacks of sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
Millions of people suffer from springtime allergies. Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and runny nose, all of which can make you miserable.
The good news is, DuPont area residents no longer have to get on Interstate 5 to buy allergy medications, now that the DuPont HealthMart Pharmacy is open.
The pharmacy carries many over-the-counter remedies for allergy sufferers. But it’s important to know what to take to give you relief.
DuPont HealthMart Pharmacist Jim Perrou said that oral antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton all help relieve sneezing, itching runny nose and watery eyes that are often triggered by seasonal allergies. But not all antihistamines are created equal.
“The older antihistamines such as Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton are effective, but they can make you drowsy,” said Perrou.
Then there are decongestants that can provide some relief to nasal congestion. Decongestants come in a pill form, such as Sudafed, and in nasal sprays such as Afrin. Perrou warns to only use nasal decongestants for short-term relief. Studies have shown that long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can worsen symptoms.
Another type of nasal spray called Cromolyn spray or Nasalcrom, can easy allergy symptoms. The downside is, it can take up to a week of several sprays a day to start working and give you relief.
Rinsing your nasal passages with water, also called nasal irrigation, is another quick and effective way to relieve allergy symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, rinsing directly flushes out what is irritating your nose. It might sound gross, but it’s effective on both kids and adults alike. Your kids will think it’s a great trick to pour water inside one nostril and watch it come out the other side. Just make sure a parent is there to aid the child.
All you need is a squeeze bottle or neti pot. Both are available at the DuPont HealthMart Pharmacy. Doctor’s recommend that you use distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled or filtered water. Your neti pot or squeeze bottle needs to be cleaned after each use and left open to air dry.
“For many people, avoiding allergens and taking over-the-counter medications is enough to ease symptoms. But when these remedies aren’t enough, it’s smart to see your doctor,” said Perrou.
There are other ways to help reduce your exposure to plants or pollen that might trigger your allergy symptoms.
The staff at the Mayo Clinic recommend staying indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after it rains, which helps clear pollen from the air. You could also put off or delegate mowing, weeding or working in the garden until a later time. If you can’t get out of working outside, be sure to remove clothes you’ve worn outside and take a shower to rinse the pollen from your skin and hair. If the pollen count is very high, wear a dust mask when working outdoors. Last but not least, avoid hanging laundry outside so the pollen doesn’t stick to sheets and towels.
The Mayo Clinic also suggests that allergy sufferer’s start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start. You can check the internet for pollen forecasts. If high pollen counts are predicted, keep your doors and windows closed at night, and avoid outdoor activity in the morning when pollen counts are at their highest.
There are ways to keep your indoor air clean and somewhat reduce the allergens in your home. Mayo Clinic staff recommend using air conditioning in your home and in your car. Make sure you are replacing your air filters on your furnace with high-efficiency filters on a regular basis. Some relief can also be found by using a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom. You can also clean your floors with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
If your allergy symptoms are severe, there is the option of allergy testing and allergy shots, both handled by trained doctors. To start this process, a visit to your regular doctor is in order. He or she will likely refer you for allergy testing to see exactly what it is in the environment you’re allergic to.
According to the Mayo Clinic, during allergy skin tests, your skin is exposed to suspected allergy-causing substances and is then observed for signs of an allergic reaction. This plus your medical history gives the clues needed to find out what it is that is causing your allergic reactions. In some cases, allergy shorts or immunotherapy is recommended. Allergy shots contain a tiny amount of the substance that is triggering your allergic reactions. Over time, your doctor increases the dose, which helps your body get desensitized to the allergen. In return, your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens, and your allergy symptoms diminish over time.
As always, you should check with your doctor before starting any new medication and remember to double check side affects and possible drug interactions with other prescriptions you may be taking.
DuPont HealthMart Pharmacy is located at 1545 Wilmington Drive, Suite 160 in DuPont. Their phone number is 253-964-3400.