Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Freedom from Fall Allergies

By: Jamin Kim, Pharm.D. Candidate & UCF Pharmacists

Do you have itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose? You could be experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. During the Fall and late Summer seasons, many people are afflicted by seasonal allergies due to increased exposure to pollen, molds, dust mites, and ragweed. Of all these, ragweed is the number one trigger for allergies during these seasons. According to Clifford Bassett, MD, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, one ragweed plant can produce a billion pollen grains that can travel 300 to 700 miles in the air. In addition, molds can be found outdoors under leaves and soil and also indoor near shower rooms and laundry facilities.

It is best to avoid any allergy triggers and to seek treatment before the allergy season begins. Some ways to minimize allergies is to have the air conditioner re-circulate the air while driving, vacuum and mop floors frequently, and avoid outdoor activities when daily pollen and mold counts are high, which can be found here.

For treatment of seasonal allergies, there are prescription medications such as nasal corticosteroids for runny nose and sneezing, eye drops for itchy, watery eyes, and decongestants for nasal and sinus congestion which can manifest as sinus pressure and headaches. In addition, nonsedating antihistamines are prescribed as well. It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist when using over-the-counter medications to treat allergy symptoms; some of the medications can worsen symptoms if used longer than indicated and others can cause undue drowsiness.

More information on allergies can be found here. In addition, if you have any questions please visit the UCF Health Center or the UCF Pharmacy.

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