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Here are some tips to deal with spring allergies

Though it’s undeniable how beautiful spring flowers can be, allergies remain a major concern for many people, says an Ottawa pharmacist.

The immune system is hypersensitive to certain allergens, such as spring pollens and dust. Allergic symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, red, watering eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes and itching.

The pollinators are not the only factor causing the allergies this time of the year, Jordan Clark, an Ottawa pharmacist, told CTV Morning Live Thursday.

“There’s so much in the air between dusts, pollen, all of the things that are happening, the type of winter that we had is leading to a really nasty allergy season,” Clark said.

Clark notes that not every single allergy medication is right for you. He says the right medication depends on multiple factors, including your symptoms, medical history and previous medications. He recommends consulting with your local pharmacist when you’re dealing with an allergic reaction.

He says a good nasal spray and nasal rinse can give you some nasal relief after spending time outside for prolonged periods, noting that they help in clearing out the sinuses.

“That’s simply is gonna clear it out (the allergen). It’s gonna soften the tissue that are there, give you some quick relief. You can use that multiple times per day. You’re not gonna get the rebound congestions that sometimes you’re gonna get with the decongestant nasal spray,” he added.

“The decongestant nasal spray, we say one or two days max. The saline nasal sprays you can use them every single day.”

He recommends using the saline nasal spray as a preventative technique before symptoms start, especially after spending so much time on the patio or outside in general.

The next step, according to Clark is using a regular 24-hour non-drowsy antihistamine, suggesting the use of Reactine, Claritine or Aerius.

“So, (those are) really good choices. They don’t typically have any real side-effects with them. They last 24 hours,” he said.

Those can also be used as a preventative method, he adds, noting that prevention can be more effective than taking them after being exposed to the allergens.

When it comes to the different brands out there and their formulas, Crak says “Benadryl is sort of the original old school antihistamine.”

“Some drawbacks (are): It’s relatively short acting. So, only for about four to six hours. The system tends to make you a bit sleepy, drowsy. For some people, they like that if they’re taking it at night and they’re having allergy symptoms,” he explained.

His advice is to go for the 24-hour non-drowsy ones, such as Reactine and Claritine, which are “very similar in terms of their structure.”

“I’ll usually say if you’ve tried Claritin, it’s not working for you, maybe switch to Reactine,” he added. “If you can stick to the life brand, there’s typically a non brand name version of all these.”

Meanwhile, pharmacists can prescribe stronger medications if need be, he notes.

“So, if you’ve taken these medications before, you’re still not getting relief, come in and chat with your pharmacist. We can do an assessment, we can prescribe prescription nasal spray, prescription eye drops or an oral medication,” he said. “I would say if you’ve given a good week or so, and you’re still not getting full relief. If it’s really disrupting your quality of life.”

Clark recommends keeping your home as clean as possible and keeping the windows closed during the allergy season, noting that dust can trigger allergic reactions. He also recommends covering up when you’re outside.

“If you’re cutting the lawn and a lot of people that are outside, they come back and they’re going to have those allergens on their skin,” he said. “Look at the forecast before heading out. If you know that it’s going to be a particularly high pollen day, take one of these medications before you go out.”

Clark says that pollen is really bad in the morning. He recommends to go outside later in the afternoon if you don’t have to leave the house in the morning.

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