Pollen is everywhere! Along with pollen comes seasonal allergies. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some helpful tips to manage seasonal allergies.
The key to managing your allergies is preventing and limiting exposure to the allergen. Here are ways you can do this:
- Limit the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high and when it’s windy.
- Wash your hands and face after being outside.
- Wipe down your pets with a damp towel; they can bring in an unbelievable amount of pollen through their fur.
There is a wide variety of over-the-counter medications that you can take to manage your allergies. Some medications can be taken daily, while others may relieve more severe symptoms. Here is some advice when choosing the medication that is right for you:
- Oral antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra are daily allergy relief medications. They help to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives and itchy skin. You should begin to feel relief very quickly after taking Zyrtec or Allegra. However, if you take Claritin, it may take a couple of hours before the medication starts working.
- Nasal sprays such as Flonase and Nasacort help relieve congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip and other allergy symptoms. It can take up to several hours before feeling relief, and it may take several days before feeling the full benefit of the medication. To get the best results, these sprays should be used daily.
- Benadryl is an antihistamine that treats runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and an itchy throat. It should be taken when you are experiencing more severe symptoms, because it may leave you feeling fatigued.
If you ever have questions about which medication is best for you, don’t be afraid to ask your primary care provider or pharmacist.
As always, if you do not see any improvement in your symptoms, they are significantly different from your normal symptoms, or something just isn’t right, you should consult a primary care provider to discuss how you should manage your seasonal allergies.