Living in this area is a blessing. The beautiful trees and warm breezes coupled with the blossoming fruit is candy for the eyes and nose. It’s also a warning for those of us who suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies.
A friend in Arizona sent me a product called Ultra Plan AL-10 Plus. It’s a natural combination of grape seed and butterbur mixed with ingredients such as echinacea, parsley, mullein and goldenseal, and can help build up the immune system before the allergy season starts. I tried it last year, and my allergies were at least 70 percent less awful than the year before.
I checked with my doctor and was assured it was safe, but you should check with yours as well. I had a hard time finding the product here in California but was able to find it online.
According to my doctor, over-the-counter allergy relief products have pretty much the same effect as prescription allergy medicines, and each affect various symptoms.
Antihistamines such as Chlortrimeton, Claritin, Alvavert and Zyrtec are designed for itchy scratchy throat, runny itchy nose and itchy eyes. They’re not decongestants and won’t relieve a stuffy nose. On the other hand, decongestants such as Sudafed don’t relieve the other symptoms.
The few products that do all of the above are Dimetapp cold and allergy liquid and Claritin D, also known as Loratadine D. Always check with the pharmacist to ensure safe interaction with other medications and confirm what’s best for your symptoms.
Saline solution is a nose spray that cleanses the nostrils and works very well to clear out pollens that attach on the fine hairs in your nose that can cause sneezing and itchiness. Eye drops are also a great way to clean and soothe the eyes.
Some tips for surviving allergy season:
• Avoid going outside on high-risk days.
• Close your windows and doors and run your air conditioner or air purifier.
• Wash and groom your animals.
• Avoid exposure to smoke, sprays, room deodorizers and other irritating fragrances.
• Avoid gardening and fresh-cut grass.
• Keep your home dust free.
• Wash off and change your clothes after being outside.
• Use saline nasal spray to clear out the pollen.
A severe allergy attack can lead to a cold or even bronchitis, so be aware of your symptoms, consult your doctor or pharmacist and choose a remedy that allows you to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. Stay healthy!
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.