Summer is here, and with this beautiful season comes sunshine, longer days, vacation and happiness! But the beautiful season can be overshadowed by seasonal allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
WHAT ARE SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance perceived by the body as foreign. This foreign substance is called an "allergen". The body releases histamine at this time, which causes uncomfortable symptoms (hence the need for antihistamines). Pollen is the culprit in seasonal allergies. In Canada, ragweed remains the most important source of pollen. This is why allergies appear during key periods, most often in the spring and summer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
The most common reactions include:
- Runny nose;
- A tingling sensation in the throat;
- Nasal congestion;
- Conjunctivitis (watery, red and itchy eyes).
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A SEASONAL ALLERGY?
If you suffer from this problem like many Canadians, you should know that there is currently no permanent cure. Fortunately, however, symptoms can be relieved with the appropriate use of over-the-counter medications. Several oral medications are safe and effective in reducing allergic reactions. These are called "antihistamines". Eye drops can also be used; ask your trusted optometrist for a prescription to relieve the symptoms.
Here are a few everyday tips that can help reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms:
- Keep doors and windows closed to avoid contact with pollen.
- When driving, keep the windows closed and use air conditioning.
- Do not mow the lawn yourself.
- Avoid walking in fields or undergrowth, especially on windy days when the amount of pollen in the air is greater.
- Wear sunglasses when you are outside the house.
- After outdoor activity, take a good shower to remove pollen from your skin. Change your clothes when you get dressed.
- Don't dry your clothes on the clothesline, as pollen can get on them.
- Wash your hands more often, especially when you come back from outside.
- When you have an outdoor activity planned, find out what pollen levels are expected. Choose times when pollen levels are lower.
- Make sure you always have antihistamines with you. Don't wait until symptoms are too severe before taking medication or until the pharmacy is closed.
In conclusion, seasonal allergies are usually short-lived and harmless but can affect your quality of life. If you think you may be suffering from seasonal allergies and want to minimize the impact on your summer, don't hesitate to consult your pharmacist and optometrist. Don't miss out on your summer. It only happens once a year!