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Treating Seasonal Allergies During the Pandemic

Dr. Robyn Kriener, Dr. Raphael Strauss, & Dr. Khalid Ahmad (Strauss Allergy & Asthma, Commack & Westbury, NY)

Spring allergies are in full force and now more than ever it is extremely important to control allergy symptoms aggressively during the pandemic. The weather is getting nicer and you may find yourself wanting to get out for a walk and get some fresh air. For many people, the warmer weather is a relief but for those with seasonal allergies, you may be suffering. Many of you may be sneezing, congested, and experiencing significant eye symptoms. Sneezing and coughing can propel respiratory droplets many feet and aid transmission of the Coronavirus in asymptomatic carriers. Be aggressive with medication. Don’t add to the discomfort that you and your child are already feeling. It’s not too late to start those meds. Reduce risk of an urgent care visit by doing a virtual telehealth visit with your pediatrician or allergist.

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). 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

What Not To 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 filter 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/pediatrician to discuss other options. There is no need to be uncomfortable.

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