This just in, allergies have been renewed for another season! If you are among the 15 million Canadians that suffer from seasonal allergies you know that your nose does more running this time of year than you do. Fear not! Our pharmacists have put together their best tips for actually getting outside and enjoying it during allergy season!
The first tip our pharmacists have for you, if you know you get seasonal allergies, start your allergy meds BEFORE your symptoms kick in. Why? It is easier to control symptoms before they get out of hand. Allergy season in Calgary typically starts in late April or early May and can last well into the fall months depending on your specific allergies.
Where to start with seasonal allergies? An over the counter, long-lasting allergy pill is usually a good first option. Newer antihistamines such as Claritin, Reactine and Aerius are often good choices. They work all day and has fewer side effects (like drowsiness) than other allergy medicines. If your allergies symptoms are a bit out of control you can use a decongestant that should give you some more relief.
Are allergies still bad? Try adding an over the counter nasal spray or sinus rinse. The neti pots might look a little scary to use but they are not as complicated as they look or sound. Nasal rinses will help to flush out your nasal passages and sinuses, to reduce the number of symptom-causing allergens. If you are confused about which one to use, our pharmacists can help you pick the right one and how to use it.
Super itchy and dry eyes? As much as we love our contacts, they do irritate our eyes, and even more so during allergy season. Try giving your eyes a break by decreasing the amount of time you’re wearing contacts. For dry eye relief, you can use a humidifier in your home and ask our pharmacists which eye drop would be best to give you some relief.
Some other helpful tips our pharmacists like to recommend: Keep your windows closed during the night, even if you have screens. Pollen counts can peak overnight so keep them out of your home by keeping windows and doors closed. If you are usually a morning runner, opt for an evening one when the pollen count is lower, or retreat to a cool air-conditioned indoor gym!
We also recommend taking a shower or changing your clothes after you’ve been outside all day. Allergens can cling to clothes, so it is best to change out of them when you come inside. And don’t forget about your pets! If your dog is hanging out outdoors, they are also tracking in grass and pollen, give yourself some relief by giving them a hose down before cuddle time!
We’ve been focussing on outdoor allergies, but the safety of the indoors might be contributing to the problem as well. If you know you have indoor allergies, like dust, mold, or pet allergies, these will contribute and make your allergies seem a whole lot worse.
And if absolutely nothing is going your way, check in with your doctor or allergist to get to the bottom of it. Knowing EXACTLY what you are allergic too will help you to figure out the best methods to ease your suffering.