The first step in treating allergies is to identify the allergen (for example, pollen, animals, mold, dust mites or certain foods) and avoid it, if possible. For seasonal allergies, it is of course the pollen from different trees and plants that is responsible, with a constantly changing calendar that is closely monitored every year.
Some allergy medications are available over the counter, others by prescription. In any case, medical advice is necessary in case of a strong seasonal allergy in order to obtain the most effective treatment.
How do we know if these symptoms are allergies or another “respiratory disease”, especially in the current “COVID-19” situation?
Symptoms of airborne allergies are manifested by:
– Sneezing fits, runny “clear” nose, or regular clogging, itching that can be felt in the nostrils. This is a sign of allergic rhinitis, the best-known being “hay fever”, so called because it is mainly and historically due to grass pollens. It occurs every year, from the beginning of flowering of the incriminated plants.
– The eyes become red, tingling, and watery, making it difficult to see. Be careful, contact lenses can aggravate these symptoms.
– A respiratory discomfort, a breathlessness accompanied by pulmonary whistles associated or not with a dry cough. This is a sign of an asthma attack. An emergency consultation is then necessary.
At the slightest doubt, don’t forget to do a Covid 19 self-test or an antigen test in your pharmacy.
Finally, we don’t think about it enough, but one of the first steps against allergies is to protect your skin, which is the main barrier against any external aggression. It is therefore very important to use products adapted to reactive and allergic skin.
Traditional allergy medications
Among the anti-allergic treatments on the medical prescription we find:
– Antihistamines that prevent cells from receiving histamine released by mast cells and thus relieve allergic symptoms. Most of them can be obtained over the counter when they are packaged in small quantities. In any case, you should consult your doctor before taking these antihistamines yourself. Some of these medications can cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist for more information.
– Decongestants to relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses.
– Corticosteroids or corticosteroids obtained by prescription and reserved for more serious allergy problems. They are used to prevent and treat allergic inflammation.
– Membrane stabilizers called “chromones” (sodium cromoglicate and nedocromil in particular): act as stabilizers for mast cell membranes, preventing their degranulation and the release of mediators of the allergic reaction into the circulation. They exist in the form of over-the-counter eye drops for symptoms affecting the eyes (tearing, itching, etc.).
– Probiotics, because they protect the intestinal flora, stimulate the immune system and have a positive effect on the prevention of allergic eczema in particular.
– Ointments, which can be applied to the skin to soothe itching. Some are available without a prescription.
Caution: these dermocorticoids can cause undesirable effects such as skin infections, thinning of the skin, stretch marks, excessive hair growth or delayed healing.
– Nose washes or nasal douches, which help relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses. These showers consist of using a commercial or homemade salt solution (half a teaspoon of salt in 500 ml of warm water) and the liquid is introduced into the nostril with a bulb sold in pharmacies.
– Protective sprays for the nasal mucosa that act as a barrier to allergens and barrier creams can also be offered to prevent contact allergies.
Look at this now for more tips on how to deal with allergies.