Itchy eyes, stuffy nose and constant sneezing—if you’re suffering from spring allergies, you’re not alone. More than 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, their bodies reacting to triggers from pollen to grass, and more.

“When you have allergies, your body reacts to a trigger like pollen, and kicks your immune system into overdrive,” explained Scott Reef of Reef Family Pharmacy. “It releases substances like histamine that actually cause allergy symptoms.”

Symptoms include runny nose and post-nasal drip, nasal congestion, sinus inflammation, coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and itchy ears. While allergies typically surface during childhood, symptoms can begin at any age and may appear for the first time during adulthood.

10 Steps to Control Allergies

Reef frequently counsels his pharmacy customers on controlling spring allergies, which are prevalent from March through May but can occur in the summer and fall months as well. To minimize the discomfort, he suggests the following:

•     Keep your windows and doors closed, and sweep or vacuum outside entryways to avoid tracking pollen into the house. Use a HEPA filter vacuum bag to avoid spreading dust and replace vacuum bags frequently.

•     Change the filters on your air conditioner, air purifier, dehumidifier and vent registers.

•     Have your carpet professionally cleaned annually.

•     Avoid using vaporizers or humidifiers. They don’t help with allergies and can lead to mold and dust mites in your home.

•     When traveling in the car, keep your windows closed and set the ventilation to recirculate.

•     Change your clothes when you come home, since they will carry traces of pollen and other allergens.

•     Pay attention to air quality reports. Smart phones now have an app that gives regular pollen reports.

•     If possible, avoid the outdoors when allergens peak such as in the early morning, or when it is very windy.

•     Cover your mouth with a scarf or an allergen mask when you’re outside. Wear sunglasses to keep pollen off your lashes and your lids.

•     Buy yourself some relief with an over-the-counter medication to control your symptoms.

“If over-the-counter medicines aren’t bringing relief, see a doctor,” Reef said. “You may be a candidate for a prescription medication.”

Prescription medications are available in three forms: antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, and medicines targeting allergy-related chemicals called leukotrienes. Allergy shots also are an option, and reduce the need for medication.

 “We know how tough it is to be ‘out and about’ when you’re not feeling well,” Reef said. “That’s why we have a free delivery service for prescriptions in Cape May County. We’re also here to talk to you about your specific concerns anytime. Stop by and see us.”

Reef Family Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy located at 804 Route 9 South in Cape May Court House, N.J. With a focus on personalized service, Reef Family Pharmacy distinguishes itself from the chain stores through free patient consultations, customized compounding for patients and their pets, and free prescription delivery in Cape May County. The family owned and operated pharmacy stocks all natural Estrogen and Progesterone cream or capsules and a wide variety of over-the-counter medications. For more information, call 609-465-0004 or visit or visit us on Facebook. 

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