April and Allergies

It’s that time again!  Days are getting longer, the weather is warming up, the azaleas are starting to bloom, and everyone in the house is sneezing.  Allergies can be highly annoying and they come around uninvited every spring.  Sneezing, congestion and itchy eyes are the most common symptoms.  In more extreme cases, they can also cause symptoms such as hives and swelling.  Allergies are typically caused by substances that are inhaled, swallowed, or touch your skin.

But don’t let the fear of allergies keep you from enjoying the beauty of spring!  There are several types of over-the-counter and prescription medications you can take to help you with your allergies this season.  Talk to your doctor about the best medication for you.  Antihistamines (Advil Allergy Sinus, Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec, among others) will help counter the effects of histamine released during an allergic reaction.  Histamine, while a big word, is really quite simple.  It is a substance released by your immune system to fight damaging foreign substances.  In the case of tree pollen (and other similar allergies), the immune system is fooled into thinking this is a damaging foreign substance, so it releases histamines to assist in the fight.  An antihistamine simply helps counter the effects of the histamine.  Decongestants come in a few different forms: oral, nasal spray, or eye drops.  A nasal spray is the most common form of decongestant.  Corticosteroids are also used to fight allergic reactions, but you will need a prescription. Some common coricosteroids are Flonase, Nasocort and Nasonex.

Tis the season for pollen, so make sure to continue and wash your hands frequently after being outside – this is a good habit to get into no matter what season it is!

Stay Healthy & Stay Happy!



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