Ways to help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms

Seasonal allergies

The temperatures are rising and so is the pollen count, which only means one thing—seasonal allergies are here! We want to make sure you’re prepared for allergy season. This way, you won’t have to keep telling your friends that you’re not crying, it’s just allergies. Find out what allergies are, what they feel like and what you can do about them.

Allergies—What your body is doing

Your body loves you and is only trying to protect you. Granted, it has a funny way of showing it with the sniffles, runny nose, nonstop sneezing and itchy eyes, but it means well. Allergies happen when your immune system mistakes a normal substance as an outside threat to your body. Then, whenever you are exposed to this substance, or allergen, your immune system sends out antibodies to protect you. These antibodies cause your body to have an inflamed reaction, leading to allergic symptoms.1

Symptoms—What you may feel

One of the antibodies that the body releases is histamine, which leads to allergic reactions. People experience varying levels of reaction, ranging from mild to life-threatening. Spring and summer typically bring out seasonal allergic reactions to grass and pollen. These symptoms include:2 

  • Runny nose, stimulated mucus production 
  • Sneezing 
  • Itchiness 
  • Nasal congestion 
  • Watery, swollen eyes

Prevention—What you can do

To help minimize your allergic reactions, there are a few adjustments you can make in your day-to-day life. There are over-the-counter (OTC) medicine you can take and treatment options your doctor may be able to provide.

Lifestyle tips

To help reduce your symptoms, do what you can to limit your exposure to the allergens. There are a few steps you can take in your daily life to help control your environment, such as: 

  • Check the weather forecast for the daily pollen count and plan accordingly 
  • Keep your windows shut 
  • Limit your time outdoors 
  • Use a small particle air filter 
  • Wash your bedding weekly 
  • Avoid cigarette smoke

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine

To help relieve or reduce allergy symptoms, you can take OTC medications like antihistamine pills, nasal sprays or eye drops. 

Antihistamines 

These drugs have an active ingredient, an antihistamine, which calms histamine, the chemical your body releases during an allergic reaction. Antihistamine drugs include:3  

  • Allegra® 
  • Claritin® 
  • Zyrtec® 

Nasal sprays 

Nasal sprays can prevent congestion and postnasal drip. They can relieve inflammatory responses with allergic reactions. Saline nasal sprays, specifically, have no side effects and can loosen mucus to drain your sinuses.4 

Eye drops 

Since many seasonal allergies are airborne, there is a likelihood pollen can get into your eyes and cause allergic reactions, such as redness, watering and itching. You can wash allergens from your eyes by using artificial tears. There are also short-term-use eye drops that contain decongestants or long-term-use eye drops that contain antihistamines.5 

Some Medicare plans offer an allowance to help pay for OTC medicine. To see if your plan offers such savings, sign in to MyHumana and go to “Coverage and Benefits” or learn more about the OTC allowance

Note: Humana Pharmacy reserves the right to limit the quantities of over-the-counter medications and supplies dispensed per order. Please check with your provider before taking over the counter medications.

Treatment options

Talk to your doctor about the possibility of allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy pills. Both treatments contain low doses of the specific allergen that causes a reaction in your body, but by administering it over a period of time, the body begins to adapt to it and no longer recognizes it as a harmful foreign substance. 

Learn more about effective allergy treatments your doctor can prescribe

Allergy season is nothing to sneeze at and now you won’t have to!

Sources:

  1. “Allergy,” MedlinePlus, last accessed March 7, 2019, https://medlineplus.gov/allergy.html
  2. “Allergies,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed March 7, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497
  3. “The Best Allergy Medicine,” Reviews.com, last accessed March 7, 2019, https://www.reviews.com/allergy-medicine/
  4. “Allergy Relief: A Guide to Nasal Sprays,” Everyday Health, last accessed March 7, 2019, https://www.everydayhealth.com/allergies/guide-to-nasal-sprays.aspx. 
  5. “Over-the-Counter Eye Drops for Allergies,” Verywell Health, last accessed March 7, 2019, https://www.verywellhealth.com/otc-eye-drops-for-allergies-82841.

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