An estimated 10-30% of Canada’s population and more than 500 million people worldwide will suffer from symptoms of allergies. Allergies are defined as symptoms relating to the nose when an allergen is inhaled. An allergen is something that causes allergies such as pollen, dust, animal dander, and mold.
Symptoms of Allergies
Symptoms of allergies can be mild to severe and can occur almost immediately or some time after exposure. Symptoms that can occur almost immediately after being exposed to an allergen include:
- Itching of the nose, mouth, eyes, throat, or skin
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
Symptoms that can occur later include:
- Stuffy nose
- Feeling of pressure over the cheeks and forehead
- Clogged ears and popping
- Sore throat
- Dark circles and puffiness under the eyes
- Fatigue and irritability
Other complications that can greatly affect your quality of life, as a result of your allergies, include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems sleeping
- Sinus infection
- Ear infection
- Sleep apnea
While it is impossible to avoid all triggers of your allergies, there are some practical steps you can take to limit your allergen exposure.
- Keep windows and doors closed in your home or car
- Pay attention to pollen counts during weather reports. Lower the amount of times you go outdoors during periods of high pollen counts (sunny, dry, windy days)
- Shower and wash your hair after an outdoor activity to remove pollen from hair and skin
- Use fungicide on sinks, shower stalls, etc
- Avoid using humdifiers
- Remove houseplants which may grow mold
Pets and Mites
- If possible, remove the pet from the home
- If it is not practical to remove the pet, remove carpeting and replace with hardwood floors
- Keep the pet away from your bedroom and areas of the house where you spend time
- Wash bedding in hot water every 2 weeks
Other helpful tips include installing furnace and air filters in your house, using a dehumidifier to dry the air in your house, and avoiding tobacco smoke, inspect sprays, and fresh tar/paint.
If prevention fails, your allergies can be treated with non medicinal products, over the counter medications and prescription medications. An example of non medical product is a nasal wash/spray that can be used to help reduce your nasal symptoms.
Over the counter (OTC) medications that can be used include antihistamines such as Reactine (Certizine), Aerius (Desloratadine), Allegra (Fexofenadine), and Claritin (Loratadine). Other options may include nasal decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and combination antihistamine/decongestant medications.
If your symptoms are more serious or OTC medications do not work after a 2 week period, medications prescribed by your physician may be helpful. Those options may include steroids such as Rhinocort (Budesonide) or other medications such as Singulair (Montelukast).
Talk to your Health Care Professional
Your allergies can be controlled with various types of medications. If you start taking OTC or prescription allergy medication, it is important to talk to your pharmacist or physician about possible interactions with other medications you may be taking, as well as side effects.
- Allergic Rhinitis- What You Need to Know. Compendium of Therapeutics for Minor Ailments. Canadian Pharmacists Association (2016)
- Allergic Rhinitis. Therapeutic Choices. Canadian Pharmacists Association (2016)
- Allergic Rhinitis – US National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. (2016)
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This article was provided by the clinical pharmacy at Rx Infinity. Rx Infinity provides optimal and sustainable patient management solutions through customized programs, innovative technology and added value services that improve the overall patient experience; while helping payers and plan sponsors achieve sustainability in the management of drug plans expenditures.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.