for your health
Allergic rhinitis is nothing to sneeze at
Some medications combine antihistamines with decongestants in order to combat
the stuffy nose as well, but these can cause
stimulant effects, raising heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar, among other things, and
are not suitable for people with specific medical conditions. Desloratadine (Aerius) is the
only antihistamine to also relieve nasal congestion without stimulant effects.
You can use an antihistamine for as long as
you have symptoms without any harmful long-term side effects.
By Joseph Hanna
Here are some of the most common
questions about treating allergic rhinitis.
a regular basis before you are exposed to the
allergen. The older antihistamines, such as
diphenhydramine (Benadryl), although generally faster acting, need to be taken up to
four times per day and may cause sedation
and impairment of daytime work or academic
performance, even if taken only at night.
ALLERGIC RHINITIS IS the medical term
for a runny nose due to hay fever allergies.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when airborne allergens cause inflammation of the membranes
in the nose, resulting in a runny or stuffy
nose; itchy eyes, nose and/or throat; and
sneezing. Symptoms may resolve without
treatment; however, left untreated these
symptoms may lead to fatigue, poor concentration and lowered productivity.
What other products are there?
There are many brands of nasal saline solution that may help clear the nose. Prescription
and non-prescription antihistamine and
decongestant drops for the eyes or nose target
Prescription nasal steroid sprays are a good
option for some, often in
combination with other
Because 19 to 38 per cent of patients with
a history of allergic rhinitis also have asthma,
treatment of rhinitis improves asthma control
and vice versa. This is based on the idea that
the nose and the lungs are part of the same system. Allergic rhinitis has been categorized as
seasonal for symptoms present during a
specific period of outdoor allergen exposure
and perennial for year-round symptoms due to
dust mites, animal dander and indoor moulds.
Newer, slightly more expensive antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Reactine), lorati-dine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra) and
desloratadine (Aerius), cause less drowsiness
and are a good once-a-day alternative.
Because most of these come in flavoured
liquid formulations, children can also benefit.
Joseph Hanna, B.Sc. Phm,
CDE, CGP, is a Costco
This really seems to describe me;
what can I do?
Typically, you would start with allergen
avoidance where possible and feasible.
Recommended practices include monitoring
pollen counts, removing pets—especially
cats—from the house or at least from the bedroom, avoiding cigarette smoke and removing carpeting, depending on your particular
The next step is to try antihistamines,
which are all equally effective in relieving
itching, sneezing, runny nose and watery
eyes, although you may find that one antihistamine works better for you than the
others. These drugs work best when used on
The Costco Connection
In addition to carrying to a variety of allergy
medications year round, this spring Costco
Pharmacy is hosting an Allergy and Asthma
Clinic in every location. Trained health-care
professionals will work with Costco pharmacists to assess members’ needs and address
their concerns. Check your local Costco
Pharmacy for clinic dates and times.
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