Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Pollen Tsunami

It is definitely springtime in Nashville as any item left outside for two hours or more will reappear as a yellow tinged object. This does include children and pets. Even if your loved ones do not look jaundiced, don’t be deceived. They walk in the door with a mother lode of pollen which will wreak havoc on your allergies. We are taking a detour from vitamins today because the lunchroom topic was all about defense mode for the Nashville spring, and the staff agreed that everyone needed a pollen primer.

Take showers at night. Physically removing pollen by washing it down the drain is the first step. At the very least, change the pillow case often. Rolling around in pollen all night helps no one.

We have great over the counter medications, but these need to be started early! It is absolutely okay and even important to begin these medications before symptoms start if you suffer from allergies. One of my physician friends starts her family on a nasal steroid and an oral antihistamine around the time of the Final Four each year and continues until the pollen leaves. Flonase and Nasacort nasal sprays are both available without a prescription, and either one will work. Any of the non-drowsy antihistamines (Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin) in generic form will be effective. Take it daily. If your antihistamine no longer seems to provide relief, switch from one to another. This usually helps. I have no real preference on brands.

Using a saline spray or Neti-Pot (disgusting, I know, but it works) will also help remove the pollen from the nasal passages. While the pollen count is high, stay inside with the air conditioning on and make sure that your air filters have been changed.

Wrap your mattresses and pillows with allergy covers. These are inexpensive and will help. Wash sheets and mattress pads often. We use a cool mist humidifier with essential oils, also. Get plenty of rest. Going to battle with pollen daily is an exhausting process, and nothing taps out your immune system as quickly as a lack of sleep. Drink fluids, especially water.

If your eyes are prickly feeling or red and itchy, there are several eye drops like Zaditor that were once prescription items but are now available over the counter. Just remember to remove those contacts before using the drops! The bottom line is that there are now a number of medications that were once prescription that are available for use and can help during this rough season. Hang in there!

Healthy living with John Hollis Pharmacy!

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