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Surviving Springtime Allergies

By: Dr. Robyn Kreiner & Dr. Raphael Strauss, Strauss Allergy & Asthma (Westbury & Commack, New York)

Spring is here the trees have begun to pollinate.  While some may start to enjoy the warmer weather others may be dreading allergy symptoms.  It’s time to stock up on allergy meds and find the best allergy regimen that works for you. It is important to start medications before symptoms begin. Consider a Spring allergy tune-up.

Over the counter products- what to buy:

1) Nasal steroid sprays: Flonase, Nasacort, Rhinocort, Sensimist are most effective when used daily

2) Antihistamines: get the type that does not cause drowsiness: Allegra(fexofenadine), Claritin(loratadine), Xyzal and Zyrtec(cetirizine). The generic products are just as good and less expensive.

3) Eye drops: over the counter allergy eye drops contain the medication ketotifen (Zaditor, Alaway) and artificial tears are helpful. DON’T RUB YOUR EYES

Don’t buy:

Allergy medications that can cause drowsiness such as Benadryl.

Decongestants- tend to cause adverse effects such as insomnia, elevated blood pressure

Avoid topical decongestants such as Afrin, Naphcon and Visine. Long term use can cause increased congestion and red eyes.

Although it is nearly impossible to avoid all pollen, here are some tips to limit your exposure

  • First, keep the doors and windows in your home and cars shut to keep the pollen out.
  • Take a shower and wash your hair after outdoor activities so you don’t bring the pollen inside with you.
  • Use of the Netipot to flush the nose and sinuses out twice per day or PRN. (This gives your nose a shower on the inside and gets the allergens that the nose has filtered out of the air).  It comes with packets to mix with water. Be sure to use sterile water, not just tap or well water.
  • Wipe off pets when they come indoors and don’t let them sleep in your bed with you and transfer pollen.

If these do not make you comfortable, see your allergist to discuss other options. There is no need to be uncomfortable.