Don’t let itchy eyes put a damper on your spring.
The weather warms, the flowers bloom, the birds chirp. And you feel lousy. Welcome to allergy season. While you cannot cure allergies, you can manage them. Here’s what you need to know about seasonal allergies and what you can do to reduce their effects.
What are seasonal allergies?
Your immune system’s job is to protect you from dangerous substances in your environment. But what happens when it mistakes harmless pollen for a nasty toxin? Your eyes redden and itch, your sinuses constrict, sneezing and wheezing commence. In short, you have an allergy.
The allergy that springs up this time each year is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. If you suffer from rhinitis, mucus traps allergens in your nasal passage, leading to inflammation. Allergens that trigger this reaction include pollen, mold spores, pet dander and dust mites.
When your body confronts an allergen, it produces allergic (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies seek and destroy the allergens. Unfortunately, in the process of neutralizing the effects of the allergen, your body produces histamines, which constrict airways, inflame sinuses and cause itching.
What can you do?
The most obvious way to prevent allergic reactions is to limit exposure to allergens. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, keep doors and windows shut, and keep your space clear of dust and debris. Air conditioner filters can remove 99 percent of airborne pollen. Face masks also provide a powerful barrier between allergens and your airways.
But for many of us, that’s just not enough. Luckily, several prescription medications can help us manage our seasonal allergic rhinitis. Many of these medications are available at low prices with Blink. If your doctor prescribes you a medication for seasonal allergies, you can purchase the medication online and then either pick up at a pharmacy near you or have the med delivered to your door. You can even use Blink to save on medications that are also available over-the-counter, when you get a valid prescription from your doctor. Talk with your healthcare provider about what would be best for you.
Antihistamines: Histamines are responsible for many of the symptoms of your allergic reactions, and antihistamines block them. Antihistamines include loratadine, also sold as Claritin, cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
Decongestants: Decongestants reduce nasal inflammation, relieving congestion. Decongestants are available as sprays, such as oxymetazoline (sold under the brand name Afrin) and levmetamfetamine, as well as pills, such as triprolidine/pseudoephedrine.
Leukotriene modifiers: Leukotriene modifiers block the actions of leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals released after contact with allergens. Leukotriene modifiers include montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate) and zileuton (Zyflo).
Nasal corticosteroids: Corticosteroids mimic cortisol, a hormone your body creates to reduce inflammation. Nasal corticosteroids include fluticasone propionate (Flonase), budesonide (Rhinocort) and mometasone furoate (Nasonex).
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com