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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 5, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 14
It's sneezin' season - Experts tell how to manage your seasonal allergies
Section One
ALL STORIES
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It's sneezin' season - Experts tell how to manage your seasonal allergies

It's the time of year once again when we welcome beautiful flowers and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, for many of us, spring also means itchy, watery eyes, sneezing fits, and nasal congestion.

These days, pollen from plants and flowers typically are released earlier in the year than in the past, causing longer allergy seasons, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which noted that 2012 was one of the worst such seasons on record.

While there is no cure-all for seasonal allergies, popular over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide relief for the most common symptoms. These guidelines can help you better deal with seasonal allergies.

GESUNDHEIT!
Popular OTC antihistamines can provide relief from sneezing, runny noses, and irritated, watery eyes by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical in the body that triggers congestion and upper respiratory discomfort.

All stuffed up? Decongestants like pseudoephedrine (PSE) relieve a stuffy nose by narrowing the blood vessels in nasal passages so you can breathe more easily. PSEs are now located behind the pharmacy counter because they are an ingredient that can be used to make methamphetamine. Rest assured though, PSE has been safely used for decades.

If you're congested, consider treating your symptoms and doing your part to keep your community safer at the same time. Ask your pharmacist about Nexafed HCl tablets, the next-generation PSE that provides the same effective relief from nasal congestion for most people as standard PSEs, but with technology that disrupts the extraction and conversion of pseudoephedrine into meth.

Over-the-counter eye drops that are specifically designed to treat allergy symptoms can be found in any drug store and can be very effective at reliving redness and washing away allergens. Also consider using an air purifier or humidifier in your house to help clear the air of possible irritants.

EATING FOR RELIEF
According to experts, certain foods you may already be enjoying have allergy-fighting properties. For example, quercetin, found in oranges, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, can help reduce your body's reaction to pollen. Or, try loading up on salmon and walnuts, as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to alleviate itchy eyes and a runny nose.

If you have questions or doubts about which medications may be best for you, talk with your pharmacist. And if symptoms worsen or last for more than two weeks, be sure to see your doctor.

Rest assured, relief for seasonal allergy symptoms does exist! Visit your local drugstore or the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's website (www.aafa.org) for more information on how to treat seasonal allergies. You can check the daily pollen level in your area at the National Allergy Bureau's website (www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx). There's no reason you have to miss out on the warm weather and all the fun outdoor activities this time of year has to offer. - StatePoint Media

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