ALLERGYguide

It’s time to simplify allergy care. Tips and advice from your pharmacist.

#201172 Rev 4/06

Form #1913

Rite Aid Pharmacists: Helping You To Better Health
Rite Aid is committed to providing the everyday products and services that help our valued patients lead healthier, happier lives. An important part of that quality service is found in patient education. That’s why Rite Aid has worked together with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) to obtain information to help develop this allergy guide. The AAAAI is the largest professional medical specialty organization in the United States dedicated to advancing the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Much of the information included in this guide has been provided by the AAAAI. As Rite Aid continues its mission of ensuring customers receive the quality service that really makes a difference, the AAAAI has been an invaluable resource in helping us further that mission. The AAAAI does not endorse any particular pharmacy or commercial product within this booklet; it is dedicated to providing comprehensive educational information regarding allergies and allergic conditions.

Keep windows closed in your house and car to reduce exposure to pollens.3

Did you know?
The long or short of it is: no matter what the length of your pets’ fur, your pet produces dander.2

Allergies At-A-Glance

The symptoms may be familiar—the runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing or sneezing that can go along with allergies. But what are allergies? What causes them? And how do you begin to treat them? Allergies are your body’s over-reaction to common things found in the environment called “allergens.” Allergens can include pollen or mold spores. They might include the dead flakes of skin or saliva from household pets called “animal dander.” Dust is a common allergen, as are certain foods or drugs.1 And while having allergies may be hereditary, the allergen that triggers your symptoms may be completely different than those of your family members.2 The good news is that allergies can be controlled and treated. You begin by: • Learning what triggers your allergies • Working with your healthcare professional and pharmacist to diagnose and relieve your allergies • Making lifestyle changes to reduce allergens around you.1
Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “How to Help Your Allergies and Asthma.” 2. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children.” 3. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Outdoor Allergens.”

Testing for Allergies
In order to treat your allergies, your doctor may first ask to perform a number of simple allergy tests. This will better help you understand just what allergens affect you, determine the right treatment, and guide any lifestyle changes that may further control your allergies.1 The most common types of allergy tests are skin tests and blood tests (also called “radioallergosorbent”—or “RAST”— tests). Because different allergens are made up of different proteins, these allergy tests use these proteins to help demonstrate which of them are causing your symptoms. For skin tests, this can be done by pricking or scratching the skin with a tiny quantity of an allergen protein, or by injecting this protein under the skin with a syringe using a technique called “intradermal testing.” For blood tests, your doctor will take a blood sample and introduce the allergen there.1 The results for skin tests are usually available very quickly—often within 15 minutes of testing—while the results of blood tests are more involved and therefore, may take slightly longer.1 By knowing the allergies that affect you, you take one step closer to a more allergy-free day!

Avoid fresh cut grass and raking leaves – they stir up pollens and molds.1

“I’m sneezing, my head’s stuffed up.”
Many people may not realize they have allergies, often thinking that their congestion and runny nose may be a cold. Left untreated, allergies can cause more serious conditions like sinusitis or ear infections. It is important to distinguish between allergies and colds, enlisting the help of a physician when appropriate. A cold is caused by a virus, where as an allergy is the body’s response to a specific allergen. Allergens are often common, usually otherwise harmless substances such as pollen, mold spores, animal dander, dust, foods, insect venoms and drugs.
Symptoms Colds - Fever - Aches and pains - Allergy symptoms Symptoms usually take a few days to hit full force. Allergies - Runny or stuffy nose - Sneezing - Wheezing - Watery and itchy eyes Symptoms begin almost immediately after exposure to allergen(s). Acute Sinusitis - Profuse, thick, colored nasal drainage - Bad tasting, post-nasal drip - Cough - Head congestion or headache - A “plugged up” nose - A feeling of facial swelling - Toothache - Constant tiredness - Fever Symptoms last as long as you are exposed to the allergen and until the reaction triggered by the allergen ends. If the allergen is present yearround, symptoms may be chronic. Symptoms may last for 3-4 weeks. Allergens such as pollen, mold spores, animal dander, dust, foods, insect venoms and possibly drugs. Duration Symptoms should clear up within several days to a week. Triggers or Causes Virus

By understanding your allergies and how to treat them, soon you and your family will be on your way to a healthier, more allergy-free lifestyle. 2

Understanding Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms can be caused by a number of very different allergens. So how do you determine whether you have allergies and, if so, what you’re allergic to? What if your head is stuffy and you’re sneezing? What if you’re experiencing dry and itchy skin? The charts on the following pages can guide you. Just remember, this information is intended to help you educate yourself on common allergic conditions, and shouldn’t replace professional diagnosis. Consult your healthcare professional with any questions or concerns about the symptoms that may be affecting you. Your doctor is there to make sure you receive proper diagnosis and treatment.

Acute sinusitis is often caused by a bacterial infection. It usually develops as a complication of a viral respiratory infection, such as the common cold, especially if symptoms last more than 7 to 10 days. The inflammation seen is usually triggered by inadequate draining. This may be seen due to allergies, viral or bacterial infections or physical problems in the nose.

Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis symptoms are similar to those of acute sinusitis, however, patients usually do not have a fever.

A diagnosis of chronic sinusitis is made when sinusitis symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks.

Factors such as allergies or bacterial infection also play a major role in chronic sinusitis by producing inflammation in the sinus membranes.

Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: What is Allergy Testing?” 2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “How to Help Your Allergies and Asthma.”

Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Outdoor Allergies.”

“My skin is really dry and itchy, what do I do?”
Whenever you have an unusual rash, be sure to contact your family physician or allergist. They can help determine the cause, whether it is allergies, irritants, or another trigger. Most importantly, your physician and other health care providers can offer a support system and assist you in managing your skin condition.

You can reduce the risk of childhood food allergies by delaying the child’s exposure to potentially-allergenic foods like milk, wheat, corn, egg, fish, and peanuts.1

Allergy Prevention in Children
Did you know you can reduce the chance that your child develops certain allergies? While allergies do run in families, there are steps you can take to delay—or even prevent—your child from developing allergic reactions to foods or the environment.1 To reduce the risk of food allergies, delay your child’s exposure to foods that are commonly known to be allergens by introducing them in stages. For instance, begin your infant’s diet with breast milk for the first four to six months, and you can prevent potential allergic reactions while strengthening your child’s immune system. If breast-feeding isn’t possible, consider using partially pre-digested, protein hydrolysate formulas over milk- or soy-based choices, which may cause allergic reactions.1 Between six to twelve months of age, introduce solid foods—like vegetables, rice, meat and fruit. Each food should be introduced one at a time so that foods causing a reaction can be identified and eliminated. After one year, you may add milk, wheat, corn, citrus and soy. By age two, eggs may be introduced and at age three, fish and peanuts may be added as well.1 To reduce the risk of environmental allergies, control dust and animal dander by taking the preventative measures discussed in “Top Ten Tips to AllergyProofing” in this guide. By taking measures the moment you bring your child home from the hospital, you really can help your child get off to a healthier, happier and more allergy-free start.1

You may have more than just dry skin.
There are several skin conditions that share symptoms similar to those of dry skin. They include eczema, hives or urticaria, and dermatitis. Eczema is a common allergic skin reaction often seen on the face, elbows and knees that appears as an itchy, bubbly rash. It is often caused by overheating or sweating, contact with irritants such as wool, pets or soaps, emotional stress, food and infections. Hives or urticaria are red, itchy, swollen areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body. Hives are often caused by a viral infection, drug, food or latex, or reactions to medicines and foods. Allergic contact dermatitis is best identified by an itchy, red, blistered reaction and occurs where the offending agent-such as a plant or chemicalcomes in contact with the skin. Reactions can occur 24-48 hours after contact. For all three of these allergic skin conditions, preventing the itch is the primary goal of treatment. There are some self-treatments that you may find helpful for relieving itchy skin: • Applying cold compresses • Lubricating the dry skin with cream or ointment • Removing "irritants" that aggravate the condition • Relieving symptoms with oral antihistamines or topical anti-inflammatory medications (see the shopping guide)

Did you know?
Pollens from plants with bright flowers, like roses, usually don’t trigger allergies. Their pollen is larger and harder to inhale.1

Common treatments include over-the-counter medications and in some cases, prescriptions. Please see the following page for Rite Aid Pharmacist recommendations. If you have any questions, please consult your Rite Aid Pharmacist or doctor.
Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Outdoor Allergens.”

Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children”

Shopping for Allergy Relief
Symptoms - Runny nose - Sneezing - Wheezing - Watery and itchy eyes - Runny nose - Stuffy nose - Sneezing - Wheezing - Watery and itchy eyes

Avoid tobacco smoke, which can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms.1 There are so many over-the-counter allergy medications available today, choosing the right one can be very confusing. Do you need an antihistamine or a decongestant? How do you find the proper treatment for you? The following chart suggests a number of products that can be effective to treat common allergies
How It Works Blocks histamine, which causes many allergy symptoms, such as itching of the eyes and nose, runny nose, and sneezing.

and their symptoms. And if you have any questions, make sure you consult your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you understand the differences between similar products, and start feeling better soon.
Rite Aid Pharmacist Recommends

What To Use Oral Antihistamines

Diphenhydramine: Rite Aid Complete Allergy, Benadryl Loratadine: Rite Aid Loratadine, Claritin

Did you know?
You can get up-to-date pollen counts for your area online at www.pollen.com.

Oral Antihistamines/ Decongestants

Blocks histamine to relieve allergy symptoms, including itching of the eyes and nose, runny nose, and sneezing. Narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow in the affected area, which helps clear congestion and improves breathing.

Diphenhydramine / pseudoephedrine: Benadryl D Brompheniramine / pseudoephedrine: Rite Aid Cold and Allergy DiBromm Elixir, Dimetapp Cold and Allergy Elixir Loratadine / pseudoephedrine: Rite Aid Lorata-D, Claritin-D

- Stuffy nose

Oral Decongestants

Narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow in the affected area, which helps clear congestion and improves breathing. Same as above. Do not use more than 3 days because rebound congestion can occur. Drug-free strips that lift the sides of the nose to open the nasal passages. Narrows blood vessels and blocks histamine in the eye to relieve symptoms. Prevents mast cells from releasing histamine and other triggers of inflammation. It does not stop inflammation once it has begun. You should start treatment before the allergy season begins and use daily.

Phenylephrine: Sudafed PE Pseudoephedrine: Rite Aid Pseudoephedrine, Sudafed

Remember, these products are listed for educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis. Please consult your healthcare professional with any questions about your symptoms or the treatment options that may be right for you.

Nasal Decongestants

Oxymetazoline: Rite Aid 12-Hour Nasal Spray, Afrin Phenylephrine: Neo-Synephrine
Rite Aid Nasal Strips, Breathe Right

Nasal Strips

- Watery and itchy eyes - Redness - Watery eyes - Runny nose - Sneezing

Eye Drops

Naphazoline and pheniramine: Rite Aid Eye Allergy Relief Drops, Visine A, Naphcon A
Cromolyn Sodium, Nasalcrom

Nasal Mast Cell Inhibitors

- Itchy skin / rash / hives

Moisturizing Creams Anti-inflammatory Ointments and Creams: Topical Corticosteroids Topical Antihistamines

Lubricates dry skin. Acts against most causes of inflammation by decreasing the formation, release and activity of histamine and other triggers of inflammation. Includes some local anesthetic activity to relieve itching. Blocks histamine, one of the most important mediators of the allergic response.

Rite Aid Oatmeal Lotion, Aveeno, Eucerin

Hydrocortisone cream, lotion and ointment: Rite Aid Hydrocortisone, Cortizone 10
The above products have not been reviewed or approved by the AAAAI.

Diphenhydramine combination products: Rite Aid Anti-itch Cream (Spray or Gel), Benadryl Topical Diphenhydramine: Rite Aid Complete Allergy, Benadryl Loratadine: Rite Aid Loratadine, Claritin

Oral Antihistamines

Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Traveling with Allergies and Asthma.”

Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Think you may suffer from allergies? Your healthcare professional can help you determine whether you do have allergies, what allergens trigger them, and whether over-the-counter or prescription medications, if any, are appropriate. Some questions to ask your doctor could include: 1. What are the treatment choices for my allergies?1 2. Would allergy shots be helpful in my case? 2 3. How can I prevent or minimize my exposure to allergens?1 4. How can I tell whether my children have allergies, too, or if they will develop them?1 5. What can I do to prevent my child from developing allergies or asthma?3 6. Will my medications make me sleepy or cause other side effects?1 7. Will my medications react with other drugs I’m taking?1 8. How much medication should I take, and how often?1 9. When should I stop taking medication?1 10. Are there other symptoms of allergies I should look for?1 Remember, your Rite Aid Pharmacist and doctor are there to support the health of you and your family, so don’t hesitate to share your concerns about allergies, as you would with any other medical condition.

When the humidity is high, stay indoors and use air conditioning. This can lessen your exposure to dusts and pollens.3

Top Ten Tips to Allergy-Proofing
Did you know there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your exposure to the allergens that affect you and your family? 1. Reduce the clutter in your home that collects dust.1 2. Use zippered, allergy-proof plastic covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows to reduce dust mites in areas where you sleep.1

Did you know?
An allergy is a real medical condition that deserves treatment, and is not “in your head.”5

3. Wash bedding in 130 degree water1 every seven to ten days. This helps kill dust mites found in sheets and blankets.2 4. Clean your home weekly to remove dust, molds and pet dander.1 5. Consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with washable throw rugs to reduce dander, molds and dust mites.1 6. Keep pets outside the bedroom and bathe them weekly, to reduce exposure to dander.1 7. Use a dehumidifier to keep your house dry and reduce the growth of molds.1 8. Request that family and guests refrain from smoking in your car and home.1 9. Keep windows closed and use air conditioning on high-humidity or windy days.3,4 10. Dry clothes and bedding through an electric clothes dryer instead of hanging them outside. Pollen and molds could collect on them.3

Did you know?
Allergies may have symptoms that are similar to those of a cold.5 Please refer to page 4 to learn the difference.

Did you know? Moving to another region may help you
avoid old allergies–but also develop new ones!4
Sources: 1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “How to Help Your Allergies and Asthma.” 2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children.” 3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Outdoor Allergens.”4. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Allergic Rhinitis.” 5. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Sinusitis.”

Sources: 1. “Doctor’s Questions Document,” from Rite Aid. 2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Allergic Rhinitis.” 3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children.” 4. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. “Patients & Consumers Center: Tips to Remember: Outdoor Allergens.” 5. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “How to Help Your Allergies and Asthma.”

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.