No holidays for seasonal allergies

Allergy symptoms (nasal congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing) are unpleasant. Don’t let these symptoms ruin your vacation.

The start of the summer holidays often comes with seasonal allergies, or allergic rhinitis. This is the body’s response to exposure to a substance that causes allergies (called an allergen). At the start of spring, and during the entire summer and fall, trees, shrubs and plants release pollen. When these allergy-causing plants set about this step, which is necessary to their reproduction, your symptoms appear. 

The allergic reactions caused by these different pollens begin at about the same time every year:

  • from March to June (pollen from trees and shrubs such as birch, maple, poplar and oak)
  • from May to October (pollen from the graminae family such as grass, hay, bluegrass and brome grass), and
  • from July to October (pollen from ragweed

Seasonal allergies affect from 10 to 30% of the population. They often affect more than one person within the same family.

Reduce symptoms by limiting pollen exposure

It is possible to be less affected by allergy symptoms by limiting pollen exposure. Here are a few useful tips:

  • Keep the windows in your home closed, and if you have an air-conditioning system, turn it on using the internal airflow to prevent introducing allergens into your house.
  • Do not air dry your clothes and bedding outdoors, since they will be exposed to pollen, which will then be brought into your home.
  • After a day spent outdoors, take a shower or bath and wash your hair. Be sure to change your clothes as well. This will allow you to eliminate the pollen on your body and avoid further exposure during the night.
  • When in your car, close the windows and use the air-conditioning. 
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the pollen in the air.
  • Keep in mind that pollen is more concentrated during sunny and windy days, and lower during rainy days. Plan your activities accordingly.

Allergy medications

Antihistamines

Antihistamines allow you to limit and control symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose. There is a wide range of products. Speak to your pharmacist to know which one is best-suited to your condition. Don’t wait until symptoms are full blown before starting to take allergy medication. It is easier to manage symptoms at their onset. It is even recommended to take medication regularly during allergy season. Speak to your pharmacist if your symptoms are not under control despite taking an antihistamine regularly.

Saline solutions

The use of a saline solution can help by cleaning out the nasal passages. A saline solution allows the removal of the allergen present in the nose and reduces symptoms of congestion while eliminating mucus. To learn more about saline solutions, read the following article: Seasonal allergies: the importance of nose care.

Decongestants  

These help to diminish the sensation of a stuffy nose. The use of antihistamines generally helps to eliminate congestion. It is important to note that decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than three to five consecutive days, as they can cause rebound congestion after they are discontinued. Do not take these types of medications without first speaking to your pharmacist. They may be ineffective or contraindicated for some individuals, depending on their health.

Eye drops

If your main symptom consists of watery eyes, it is possible to occasionally use eye drops. However, in many cases, antihistamines in tablet format will be the preferred choice. Speak to your pharmacist before purchasing eye drops to relieve watery eyes due to allergies.

Nasal corticosteroids

If your allergy symptoms are not completely controlled despite an appropriate treatment with antihistamines, this product category may be useful to obtain adequate relief.

Don’t let these allergy symptoms ruin your vacation. Take the time to discuss it with your pharmacist, who can provide you with advice. Don’t hesitate to speak to them again if symptoms persist.

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No holidays for seasonal allergies

Nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing are the symptoms most commonly found in people suffering from seasonal allergies. If you are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms during your summer vacation, here are a few tips:
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