Its allergy season again! Here are some suggestions to keep you breathing easy:
Make a journal to determine triggers. Keeping a journal can help identify if it is your long haired cat or the freshly cut grass next door that is causing your discomfort. At home, you may find it useful to use a humidifier or air filter. Keep windows closed during high pollen times and replace your home air filters on a regular basis. Vacuum the interior of the house often to avoid dust and mite build up, especially if pet dander is a potential allergen. Many over the counter medications can be helpful to treat allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines are the drug of choice and are available in different dosing forms (tablets, liquid gels, capsules, syrups). Some cause drowsiness and are shorter-acting than others. Often patients will find relief from switching from one antihistamine to another, and a pharmacist can help make an effective choice.
Eye irritation is often a problem with allergies and many drops are available with different ingredients to treat dry eyes, red eyes and itchiness. Some drops include medications that will prevent allergy related symptoms before they appear if the drops are used regularly. Ask for your pharmacist for more information.
Dry or runny noses often are issues with allergies as well. Nasal lubricants can help, as well as saline solutions. Saline can be administered in various ways, with gravity fed options often superior to sprays, as they reach further back into sinus cavities. Omega-3 fish oils may also help improve symptoms by reducing the inflammation in skin layers associated with allergies.
For more severe symptoms often an physician will prescribe a steroid nasal spray for allergic rhinitis. Many options are available, with newer formulas allowing for just once a day dosing as opposed to multiple sprays twice daily. Sometimes unique methods are used to instill medication deep into sinus cavities for more problematic sinus congestion. Ask your pharmacist or physician what options are available to you!