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5 Things You May Not Know About Spring Allergy Relief

Published on 03 April 2015

Along with daffodils and tulips, many note the start of spring with sinus pressure and congestion. Pollen counts are expected to peak soon in many parts of the country. Walking into any pharmacy for relief, patients will be presented with a number of options of over-the-counter medications. Here’s the best way to not only get the relief you need, but also make the best use of your time while shopping.

“There are a lot of choices,” says Clark Kebodeaux, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “That favorite medication from last year may still be your best bet, but before buying it again, talk to your pharmacist about all of your options.”

5 things you may not know about spring allergy relief:

-New medications are available over-the-counter

“This is the first allergy season where two prescription strength nasal sprays are available over-the-counter,” Kebodeaux says. “If you’ve never used these products before, they can be a very good for sinus issues. Talk to your pharmacist about choosing the right product for your symptoms.”

-Other medicated nasal sprays work fast, but there is a chance you could become addicted

“Not all nasal sprays are the same,” says Kebodeaux. “Choose carefully with the advice of a pharmacist. Avoid the products which are really intended for cold and flu season, not spring allergies. You’ll get some relief but it will only be for a few days. Using these types of nasal sprays longer than that could make the congestion rebound faster than before, which could lead to over-usage.”

-An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

“If you know you’re going to have issues this spring, start taking medication right away,” says Kebodeaux. “Your symptoms will not be as severe. Pollen counts are getting worse every year, and if that is a trigger for you, it’s worthwhile to get ahead.”

-Decongestants won’t help with a drippy nose

“If you have a headache, congestion, and pressure, a decongestant is a great option for relief,” says Kebodeaux. “They won’t stop any nose dripping or watery eyes. If you have those symptoms check out an anti-histamine.”

-Many medications are actually a combination of other medications

“I always advise patients to double check the ingredients label,” says Kebodeaux. “Many products contain acetaminophen, or another pain reliever, and it’s very easy to take more than the recommended amount, especially if you’re looking for relief from a serious headache.”

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