Allergy Season – all you need to know

Spring into Summer Health with Haven Pharmacy!

You can trust your local Haven Pharmacist to protect your family from Allergies this season. Our expert team can advise you on the best Antihistamines for your Allergy symptoms. But what exactly is an Allergy?
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance. They are particularly common in children. Having an allergy can affect your everyday activities but most allergic reactions are mild and can be treated. Severe reactions can occasionally occur, but these are uncommon.

Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Most of these allergens are harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
Examples of common allergens are:
• Grass and tree pollen – an allergy called hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
• Dust and Mould Allergies
• Food – particularly nuts, fruits, shellfish, eggs and cow’s milk
• Insect bites and stings
• Medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain antibiotics
• Household chemicals – including cleaning agents and hair dyes common during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms
Allergic reactions usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
• Sneezing
• Runny or blocked nose
• Red, itchy, watery eyes
• Red, itchy rash
• Wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing (anaphylaxis)

Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis can be triggered by an allergy. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment. Seek advice from your Haven pharmacist or GP if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Breathing difficulties – such as wheezing or shallow breathing
• Feeling lightheaded or faint
• Confusion and Anxiety
• Collapsing or losing consciousness
• Other allergy symptoms including hives, feeling or being sick, swelling (angioedema), or stomach pain.

Tips for Hay Fever Sufferers
• Talk to doctor or pharmacist about taking medication to prevent / reduce symptoms.
• Keep windows closed in your bedroom at night
• Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
• Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut
• Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
• Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
• Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period
• Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
• Minimise your contact with pets who have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
• Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor to remove allergens and pollutants from the air

Treatment for Allergies
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible. These are a few examples of how to limit exposure to allergens:

• Food Allergy: Check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
• Pet/Animal Allergies: Keep pets outside as much as possible and wash them regularly.
• Mould Allergies: Keep home dry and well ventilated, reduce damp and condensation.
• Hay fever: Stay indoors and avoid grassy areas when the pollen count is high.
• Dust Allergies: Use Allergy-proof duvets and pillows, use wooden floors rather than carpets.

If a patient is at risk of experiencing a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) the following should be done:
• Carry two adrenaline auto-injectors at all times.
• Know how to use adrenaline auto-injectors. Your Haven pharmacist can help you with this.
• Wear a medical bracelet to make others aware of the serious allergy.
• Tell teachers, work colleagues and friends, so they are aware of the serious allergy

There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies from your Haven pharmacy to help reduce the symptoms of allergies. Please speak to one of our trained advisors or ask your Haven Pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to your needs.