Allergy Health & Wellness

Did you know... that between 10 and 15% of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies and year-round allergies? Read on to learn about what allergies are, what causes them, and what you do to help cope with them.

What are allergies?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, and year-round allergy are caused by allergens. Allergens are things such as dust mites, pet hair, or pollen that can cause an allergic reaction, often inflammation in the nose. In people with allergies, allergens cause the immune system to recognize them as “foreign” or “dangerous” and this causes the reaction. These same things cause no response in most people.

Allergy symptoms

Allergy symptoms may include:
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy, itchy, and/or runny nose
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Sore and itchy throat
  • Dark circles under your eyes
The symptoms may be similar to common cold symptoms, but you will know they are allergy-related if:
  • The mucus from your nose is runny and clear
  • Your sneezing is fast and happens multiple times in a row
  • Your nose, throat eyes, ears and the roof of your mouth are itchy
  • Your symptoms last longer than a week or 10 days


What causes allergies?

When you are outdoors, you are exposed to outdoor allergens such as tree pollens, grasses and weed.
Indoors, you may be exposed to indoor allergens such as dust mites, pets, second-hand smoke and/or mould.


Treating allergies

Avoiding allergens that trigger your symptoms is a good way to help reduce your symptoms. However, avoidance is not always practical. Other ways to treat allergies are shown in the chart on the other side of the page.
The Pharmacist at Walmart can advise you about which treatments will be most helpful in reducing and/or relieving your symptoms. Before making a selection on your own, ask the pharmacist.
Remember that if you are taking allergy medication, you must take it as directed in order for the medication to be effective.

Do I need medical care?

You should see your doctor or pharmacist before treatment of allergies if you:
  • Are under 12 years if age
  • Are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • Have unusual symptoms (thick green or yellow mucus; facial pain; nose bleeds; loss of smell)
  • Have severe, persistent allergic rhinitis (symptoms last for more than four weeks or disturb your sleep; you cannot participate in regular daily activities; you have trouble getting work done)
  • Have symptoms of asthma
  • Have earache
You should also see your doctor or pharmacist if treatment does not relieve your symptoms or causes bothersome side effects.


Seasonal allergies

To help treat seasonal allergies without medication:
  • Stay indoors when pollen count is high. If you are outdoors for long periods, it may be helpful to shower or bathe to wash off pollen to help reduce symptoms.
  • Try to keep windows and doors closed to keep pollen from getting into your house and/or your car. Air conditioning may help.
  • Avoid getting pollen on your clothes, e.g., don’t dry clothes outside during high pollen times.
  • For stuffy nose symptoms try nasal strips to ease breathing.


Year-round allergies

To help treat year-round allergies without medication:
  • Remove furniture and carpets that collect dust OR vacuum furniture and carpets often.
  • Avoid contact with animals that cause an allergic reaction.
  • Cover your mattresses with dust mite covers.
  • Try to keep air humidity in your home at 40 to 50% (dry).
  • Install a HEPA air filter.
  • Use a cleanser that removes mould from bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
  • For stuffy nose symptoms, try nasal strips to ease breathing.


Allergy medications

The following medications* may help relieve symptoms:
  • Antihistamines: pills used to help relieve sneezing, runny nose and itching. Some are non-drowsy.
  • Decongestants: can help relieve a stuffy nose. Should only be used a few days at a time.
  • Nasal corticosteroids: inhaled medication you may use several weeks BEFORE your allergy season begins.
  • Saline nose drops/spray and lubricating eye drops may help relieve nasal and eye symptoms.
*If you are pregnant or suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to the Pharmacist at Walmart or your doctor before using these products.


Allergy immunization

Allergy shots may be recommended if other treatments aren’t effective in relieving/reducing symptoms. Talk to the Pharmacist at Walmart or your doctor if you’d like to learn more about this option.


Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is knowledgeable about allergies. If you have questions about allergy symptoms and/or allergy management: Just ask.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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