Keeping summer allergies at bay!


Maria: Clinical Governance Pharmacist

Summer Allergies

With Summer time, comes longer evenings and the extra incentive to get out and get active. Many of us are now fully engaged with the Change Your Health Direction programme and have our meal and exercise plans in full swing. Despite the extra effort to improve our health and feel well, some of us may be experiencing symptoms of nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, dry eyes and itchy skin. Welcome to summer allergy season. It keeps going long after April’s showers and May’s flowers are gone. However there is always a solution to help ease and prevent the symptoms of summer allergy season. We in LloydsPharmacy are on hand, with our in store experts available to provide the best advice for you and your family.

What causes summer allergies?

Pollen is the main culprit! The pollen count is naturally higher in the summer months. Pollen travels very easily and therefore exposure is very easy. Also insect bites can trigger allergies and irritations. It is not just the countryside that can prove hazardous for summer allergies. Air pollution for city dwellers is a major player. Therefore it is important to keep this in mind if you are experiencing allergy symptoms and are city based. Our bodies, once they are exposed to any of these triggers produce a chemical called histamine. It is this chemical histamine that causes the symptoms of inflammation, irritation, and itching.

What can I do?

We strongly recommend that you present to any of our 94 stores. There you will be met with any of our highly trained OTC colleagues and pharmacists. Our colleagues will assess your symptoms and take into account your lifestyle, any other medications you are on, potential triggers and bespoke a treatment course that works for you.

Over-the-counter medications include:

Medications available can target specific symptoms along with preventative treatment options.  If you experience prolonged symptoms over the summer months, we recommend to simply take a daily antihistamine.  Our first line antihistamines are simple and easy to take and more importantly are non-drowsy. We in LloydsPharmacy are all about preventative medicine along with treatment. For patients, that experience recurrent sinus infections and end up on antibacterial treatments, we can offer nasal irrigation kits. Again by simply using this kit on a daily basis, the recurrence of sinus infections can be greatly reduced. For skin based reactions there is a selection of products available, following a proper consultation. From corticosteroid, antiseptic and antihistamine creams, the full range of symptoms will be treated. Many people present with dry and irritated eyes in conjunction with skin and nasal allergies. Treatments available cover dryness, redness, and irritation. Our pharmacists are always available to discuss simple and more complex conditions. We are always able to advise should a referral be required to your GP. Should OTC medication not treat the symptoms, prescription alternatives are available which we can dispense and counsel on, once a valid prescription is presented. There is always a treatment option available and it is important to keep this in mind.

What patient groups can be exposed more to summer allergies?

  • Asthmatics
  • Eczema suffers
  • Patients prone to anaphylaxis
  • Chronic dry eye suffers
  • Polyps and sinus conditions

Therefore it is essential to discuss with your GP and pharmacist the options to prevent exposure and possible symptoms.

It is important that we are fully equipped to enjoy all of what summer has to bring. There is no need to suffer with allergy symptoms.  Speak to your local LloydsPharmacy team today and discuss the best treatment option that works for you. It’s time to put your allergy symptoms at bay so as to enjoy your best summer yet.  Here’s to a healthier, better version of you.

Hay Fever In Children

Hay fever tends to affect children as they get older (about 6-7), and seems to be getting more common in recent years. Sometimes hay fever can be confused with a virus as many symptoms are similar. However Hay fever has clear seasonal symptoms, which occur every year at the same time (from March to October) and can last from weeks to months. If your child has a constant runny nose and is sneezing every day for this part of the year but not in the winter, it’s a sign that they may be suffering from hay fever.

Useful measures that can be taken to prevent hay fever include:

  • Using a pair of wraparound sunglasses to protect their eyes and discourage rubbing
  • Spreading some petroleum jelly around your child’s nostrils to help catch pollen before it is breathed in.
  • Keeping windows closed when inside
  • Checking the pollen forecast before planning days out. Coastal and urban areas tend to have lower pollen counts than places such as the park (especially if the grass has just been cut).
  • Using air conditioning in your car rather than opening windows
  • If your child has been out in the garden, wash their hands and faces and change their clothes as soon as they come back into the house. Pollen attaches to the fibre of clothes and can continue to cause symptoms over the next few hours.
  • For the same reason don’t dry your child’s clothes and bed sheets outside on high pollen days

Once hay fever has been diagnosed, your pharmacist will be able to recommend a number of strategies. The mainstay of treatment is an antihistamine. Antihistamine liquids are available over the counter for children from the age of 2 yrs. Using a saline nasal rinse like Neilmed may also be helpful, and can be used in young children. Prevalin Allergy Kids is a nasal spray for relief and protection from sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose and itchy/watery eyes. It is non-drowsy, and antihistamine and steroid free, and can be used in conjunction with an antihistamine.

Written by Aoife.