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Sneezing, Watery Eyes, Runny Nose or Sinus Congestion?

Sarah Pagenkopf, PharmD, BCPS Sarah Pagenkopf, PharmD, BCPS July 20, 2017 0 Comments General Health

If you’ve had sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose or sinus congestion recently, you’re not alone!

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, reported that on July 12th, 2017, Madison Wisconsin (Data collected and reported by the University of Wisconsin Medical School), local weed and grass pollen levels were at moderate concentrations, while tree pollen counts in Madison were low. Top species creating pollen in our community during the week of July 12th, included Cattail, Nettle, Plantain and all grasses.

So what can you do if you have watery eyes, a runny nose, and sinus congestion? Allergies caused by pollen or mold cannot be treated with antibiotics. The symptoms created by a pollen or mold allergy are not caused by bacteria, so antibiotics just don’t help make you feel better and using them could actually cause bacterial resistance.

Bacterial Resistance occurs when we consume antibiotics that aren’t needed. Bacteria can mutate or change themselves. They do this by taking in pieces of antibiotics or the “blueprints” of the antibiotic, so the next time we are sick from bacteria and need antibiotics to destroy that bacteria – they are too smart and know the weak points in the antibiotic “blueprint”, bacteria can turn the tables on the antibiotic and that makes the antibiotic useless! We don’t feel any better and we now need a new plan to get well.

Knowing that we cannot use antibiotics for pollen related allergy symptoms, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Get Smart” Guidelines recommend allergy sufferers try the following:

Runny Nose

Stop a runny nose in its tracks by trying the following tips:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Increase fluid intake, drink more water
  • Use a decongestant or saline nasal spray to help relieve nasal symptoms (Always check with your healthcare professional for dosing recommendations for your children)

Sinus Pain/Pressure

Try the following tips to help with sinus pain and pressure:

  • Put a warm compress over the nose and forehead to help relieve sinus pressure
  • Use a decongestant or saline nasal spray (Always check with your healthcare professional for dosing recommendations for your children)
  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower
  • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever (Always check with your healthcare professional for dosing recommendations for your children)

Cough

The following tips can be used to help with coughing:

  • Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower
  • Use non-medicated lozenges (Do not give lozenges to young children)
  • Consider using honey if your child is at least 1 year old (Always check with your healthcare professional for dosing recommendations for your children)

If you are having trouble figuring out which vaporizer works best, which saline nasal spray is the easiest to use or which decongestant is right for you and your family, stop in and chat with your local Pharmacist! We love to share what we know, help you find the right medications and recommend alternate non-drug therapies that might be helpful.

If you still aren’t feeling any better or if you notice that your symptoms worsen, you may need to see your healthcare professional. They can assess your symptoms, provide more input on avoidance of triggers to your allergies or even recommend alternate therapies.

To see the CDC “Get Smart” Information try this link: https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/symptom-relief.html