Warmer weather is something that most people look forward to each year, but with the introduction of springtime comes a potentially frustrating and harmful element – seasonal allergies. This year, experts are finding that itchy eyes, runny noses, and headaches are hitting people harder than ever due to a more harsh winter.
As rain, cold, and snow infiltrated most of the US far worse than normal, plants that release pollens had a higher likelihood of dying off. Now with hotter temperatures, trees and grass are making a comeback and causing allergy sufferers to experience extreme symptoms. How can you combat your allergies this season? Let’s find out how to pick the right medications and what to do when your symptoms strike.
Pick The Right Medication
For most individuals, seasonal allergy symptoms look relatively similar: a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, and perhaps even a dull headache that won’t go away. In many cases, the onset of these conditions will prompt an individual to purchase an over-the-counter antihistamine and trust that the medication will do the rest. Unfortunately, seasonal allergies are often misdiagnosed and the wrong types of drugs are purchased and used.
An Australian study observed nearly 300 people who believed they had hay fever based upon their symptoms. Researchers were surprised to find that only 17% of the group selected the correct over-the-counter medication to treat their symptoms, and in fact the bulk of them actually had another condition instead of hay fever. Most sufferers selected their medications without consulting a pharmacist while experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. Spending more on drugs that may not treat the condition can result in more missed days at work as well as general discomfort. 60% of people in the survey said that their symptoms had an impact on at least one aspect of their life.
Since the symptoms of seasonal allergies can often mask themselves as a cold or something more severe like chronic rhinitis, it’s important to speak with a medical professional before self-diagnosing. Many physicians recommend taking an allergy test in order to determine the exact triggers of one’s symptoms and to hone in on an accurate diagnosis.
If you are suffering from seasonal allergies other than a chronic condition like sinusitis or rhinitis, experts recommend using a steroid nasal spray. Noted for their long-term relief, these over-the-counter medications work far better than most pills on the market.
Cost Saving Measures
When you’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies day in and day out with no relief in sight, you’d more than likely pay any price for medication that works. Yet the cost of common antihistamines are often quite high, and even the popular option Claritin charts at nearly $1 per day. While that doesn’t seem like much, individuals on fixed incomes can struggle to afford the OTC drugs needed to make allergy season bearable.
Here’s where visiting your family physician can be beneficial in more ways than one – not only will an appointment likely diagnose the cause of your symptoms and provide a clear course of treatment, but a prescription for steroids or antihistamines could be cheaper in the long run. Using insurance to cover the cost of your medication could result in a less expensive and more effective result.
However, prices at pharmacies can vary dramatically even within the same town, so it’s always recommended to make a few phone calls before finalizing your purchase. Use SingleCare to make sure you’re paying the lowest price possible!
Increased Allergies Lead To Shortages
While seasonal symptoms are a bother for many individuals, they often aren’t life-threatening. However, for those who are allergic to specific foods, pollens, or even bee stings, an allergy attack is a more serious matter. It’s common for those with severe allergies to carry an EpiPen with them at all times, yet this allergy season is preventing many from doing just that.
More than 400 patients in over 45 states in the US have found that their local pharmacy is completely out of this life-saving device. While the FDA is not reporting any shortages of EpiPens at this point in time, pharmacies are in touch with national suppliers in an attempt to restock their shelves as soon as possible.
Pharmacies in both the UK and Canada are also experiencing a shortage of EpiPens and other allergy remedies, making the ability to treat symptoms particularly difficult this season.
Avoiding The Problem
Even with the appropriate prescription, some individuals may not find complete relief from their seasonal allergy symptoms. Thankfully, there are several tips to keep in mind to help offset your runny nose and itchy eyes:
- Stay indoors on windy days when pollens are more likely to be airborne.
- Wear a mask when doing yard work or any time you are outside and exposed to triggers.
- Watch your local weather forecast to find out when pollen counts are low and play your outdoor activities on these days.
- Try using a HEPA filter inside of your home to filter out dust.
Relief is possible from seasonal allergies with the proper diagnosis, medication, and by planning outdoor activities ahead of time.