Hot weather triggers troublesome allergy issues for many people in the area

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It’s locally that time of year when eyes begin to scratch, sinuses become clogged and headaches occur due to an annual onslaught of allergies.

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This year, allergy issues are expected to worsen further due to higher levels of stress people are experiencing, largely related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists say.

Stress hormones can release chemicals in the body that weaken the immune system’s response to allergens, causing more frequent and severe allergy flare-ups.

“People have been under a lot more stress during the pandemic,” said Sebastiano Di Pietro, pharmacist at Shoppers Drug located near Tecumseh Road East and Howard Avenue. “It may have an additional effect on allergy symptoms.

“Chemicals are released in the body that have been shown to make the reaction worse.”

Recent data shows that the demand for over-the-counter allergy medications in Canada has increased by 14% over the past two years.

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But Di Pietro said that for many people, it can be difficult to figure out the best options for treating their allergy symptoms. Too often people don’t realize that there are different allergy medications for different allergens.

“Each individual’s allergic reaction may vary,” he said. “You need a very personalized approach because it’s different for everyone.”

There are testing options available through a doctor or people should feel free to consult a pharmacist to find the root cause of their allergies and the best treatment options, Di Pietro said.

“I want to stress the importance of speaking with your pharmacist because we can help you adapt it – so that the drugs are used appropriately,” he said. “If you come to the pharmacy, I want to talk to you, even if it’s busy. Consulting with patients is a joy for me and my favorite part of the job.

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There are also several options online where a person can do their own investigation – either through various weather networks which now post up-to-date information on exactly when increased levels of pollen or other allergens are in the air or as they occur. .

The companies behind the allergy medications themselves also post increased allergen window periods and best treatment options online.

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Additional efforts to relive symptoms can be undertaken individually, such as showering after working in the garden or cutting the grass, Di Pietro said. Pets can also be a trigger for allergy problems which can be further amplified if they go outside, roll around and bring pollen inside with them.

Alcohol can also be a trigger in some people to make symptoms worse, he said.

“We are very willing to communicate with clients to determine which treatments are most appropriate,” said Di Pietro.

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