A: There are generally two types of allergies that people may suffer from — seasonal “outdoor” allergies from various plant pollens and perennial “indoor” allergies likely due to dust and pet dander. When a person who has allergies is exposed to one of these allergens, histamine is released from cells within the body, leading to the symptoms of runny nose, sneezing and itchy, red eyes. Due to the causes of allergies, indoor and outdoor, some people may have trouble year round while others may only experience symptoms during what it generally referred to as “allergy season.”
Allergy season usually starts in spring and is associated with the flowering of various plants spreading their pollen in the air.
Whether you suffer from indoor or outdoor allergies, your treatment strategy is the same. The key to beating allergy symptoms is prevention. That means trying to start an allergy medication, like an antihistamine, before you are exposed to an allergen. There are many options available when it comes to antihistamines. Some antihistamines cause drowsiness and some have to be taken once, twice or four times daily. Most importantly, some antihistamines can interact with your regular medications or be harmful for certain age groups. Therefore, it is important to talk to your local pharmacist before deciding which antihistamine is best for you.
Information provided by Curt Orchard, PharmD candidate 2012 Drake University, Hammer Pharmacy, 600 E. Grand Ave., East Village, 243-4177.