What Are Allergies?
An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are derived from genes and/or environmental factors. Pharmacist Lorig Matosian at Webster’s Community Pharmacy explains, “Normally the immune system protects the body from substances that are harmful (e.g., viruses and bacteria) or from harmless allergens (e.g., food or environmental).” “A person with allergies has an immune response that is oversensitive triggered by allergens, which releases chemicals such as histamines.”
Allergies may make certain existing medical conditions such as sinus problems, eczema, and asthma worse. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) need to be treated with epinephrine, which is a prescribed medicine that can be life saving when given right away. If you use epinephrine, call 911 and go straight to the hospital.
Food allergies are very common and vary from mild discomfort to severe medical emergencies. Typically food allergy symptoms will develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. It’s best to avoid what causes your allergies, in order to reduce symptoms.
Many customers at Webster’s Community Pharmacy come to us seeking relief. Not all allergies are alike nor do they require the same treatment. That’s why it’s important to speak with a pharmacist or physician to help navigate through the various options for each specific ailment. According to our Pharmacist, Lorig Matosian, “Many of our patients come to the counter for personalized recommendations. After a quick assessment of their allergy symptoms we guide them to the best solutions to help alleviate the flare-ups.”
Environmental Allergy Triggers In Southern California
This year Southern California has endured the forth-warmest winter on record, triggering an early release of pollen from trees. The mild temperature that we’ve had all winter long has developed an ideal environment for pollen growth, creating a longer allergy season. As a result, this is one of the most intense pollen seasons for allergy sufferers. Pollen is the most common trigger for springtime (tree pollen) allergy symptoms. Sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and a runny nose are classic symptoms that are related to springtime allergies.
Since Southern California doesn’t have four distinct seasons like in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country, allergens are constantly in the air. This can make it especially uncomfortable for those with nasal allergies, triggering chronic drainage and congestion, leaving allergy sufferers vulnerable to sinus infections, bronchitis and colds.
Alleviating Allergy Symptoms
Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Below are some of the many forms that are available at Webster’s Community Pharmacy, including:
- Capsules and pills
- Eye drops
- Nasal sprays
Anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroids) are available in many forms, including:
- Creams and ointment for the skin
- Eye drops
- Nasal spray
- Lung inhaler
Decongestants are used to relieve a stuffy nose. However it’s best not to overuse decongestants, because they can cause a “rebound” effect and make the congestion worse. People with high blood pressure, heart problems, or prostate enlargement should use decongestants with caution.
Before making an over the counter purchase be sure to check with your pharmacist to prevent a dangerous combination with prescription medications or other existing health issues.
Take back control of your allergies this season!
Now through the end of April save 10% off any OTC allergy remedy at Webster’s Community Pharmacy.
Our friendly and knowledgeable Pharmacists are available for personal recommendations. They are more than happy to guide you to relief.