Updated: Jun 22
We have reached the point in the year, where the days are getting warmer and we are fully into the spring season. Have you ever heard the saying, "April showers bring May flowers?" Well, we have made it through the rainy month of April, and as you may have noticed, all of the trees, bushes and flowers outdoors are all in full bloom. As beautiful as it may be to drive down the road and see all of the various colors on display, it can be hard to enjoy the view when you are sneezing and blowing your nose all of the time! These plants that are coming back to life are producing pollen that gets into the air that we breathe and can cause allergy symptoms. You've probably heard it called names like seasonal allergies, hay fever or allergic rhinitis. It's a common problem in America, with approximately 24 million people in the US affected yearly by seasonal allergies.
Symptoms of Allergies
Stuffy or runny nose
Red or watery eyes
What causes these reactions?
When we inhale small airborne particles in through our nose or mouth, our bodies will sometimes recognize this substance as foreign and work to “fight it off” or remove it. This leads to an inflammatory reaction that leads to the annoying symptoms that are experienced. Sometimes people know specific things that can be triggers for their allergies like being around certain pets, freshly mowed grass, or certain plants. However, often times it is just caused by the change in the weather and is unavoidable.
How can we help you at Harbor Town Pharmacy?
Antihistamines – can relieve/prevent the symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and itching. The following products are available within our pharmacy and do not require a prescription for purchase: Loratadine (Claritin), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra).
Sedating Antihistamines – these have similar benefits as the other antihistamines listed above, but can sometimes lead to severe drowsiness. Thus, these should not be taken prior to driving, used cautiously in children, and should be generally be avoided in patients older in age. Some of these medications are: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Doxylamine and Chlorpheniramine.
Decongestants – these medications are generally used when allergies cause more issues like severe nasal congestion. This class of medications is also available over-the-counter and often times in combination with other medications like Antihistamines and NSAIDS to relieve allergy or cold symptoms. Some of the products that we have available are: Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), Zyrtec D, and Advil Cold and Sinus.
Nasal Sprays – intranasal steroids are typically used to help treat congestion, sneezing, and post nasal drip. These are often used to treat symptoms quickly and can be used throughout allergy season for symptom relief. Some products are: Fluticasone (Flonase), Triamcinolone (Nasacort) and Budesonide (Rhinocort). There is also a decongestant nasal spray that can be used for quick symptom relief called Oxymetazoline (Afrin), however this should not be used for more than 3 days, due to the risk of worsening congestion.
Eye drops – these are commonly used to treat the symptoms related to the eyes, like redness, itchiness and irritation. Some of the products available are: Olopatadine (Pataday) and Ketotifen (Zaditor).
Let Harbor Town Pharmacy Help You!
Harbor Town carries several options for treating your allergies. If there is a specific product you want and we don't have it, we can usually order it and have it in the next day. We are here to help you with any questions you have regarding treating your allergies or any other medication questions! See the difference a local pharmacy can be today!
Written by Ryan Parkerson, PharmD Candidate 2023
Reviewed by Kelsey Newell, PharmD
References:American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (2018). AllergyFacts. https://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies