Manage Your Health

Allergies

If you are going away on holiday, don’t let allergies ruin your time away. Hay fever may be either seasonal or all year round and the severity and type of hay fever varies from person to person but can make you miserable if not treated and the symptoms prevented.

Most hay fever sufferers complain of sneezing, itching, and burning eyes and throat, and either blocked or running nose.

When you have an allergy, the body releases a substance called histamine, which is why the most common medicines used to treat allergies are called antihistamines.  These block the effect of histamine and will prevent any more histamine release, which should prevent the allergy from getting worse.

Other treatments for the nasal blockage and congestion of hay fever usually involve a nasal solution that may be either dropped or sprayed into the nostrils. These work by washing out the nostrils or by helping to dry up and prevent further secretions from the sinuses running down the nostrils or the back of the throat.  Decongestant nasal preparations should only be used for up to five days running as they can cause nasal congestion to worsen if used for prolonged periods of time. 

Talk to your community pharmacist about the right medicine to treat hay fever and seek their advice about preventing as well as treating hay fever whether you suffer from this occasionally or every day.

Insect bites

Don’t let those pesky insect bites ruin your time away. Insects that bite do it to get access to your blood as that is what they feed on. Biting insects include mosquitos, fleas, sand flies or midges and bedbugs.

The result of an insect bite is frequently intense itching, as the insect injects a small amount of an anti-clotting substance so that the blood may be fed on more easily. This often develops into a raised reddened lump at the site of a bite and may also blister. The major problem with these bites is that the itching results in scratching the area, causing infections and sores to develop, which may take some time to heal and may also cause scarring.

To treat an insect bite, you need to relieve the itch. There are many preparations available from your community pharmacy that will help to treat the itch, as it may continue for several days after the bite if you are particularly sensitive to that insect.  Often people that are new to an area may have a more severe allergic response to the insects that inhabit that region. Travellers or those on holiday often have a more severe reaction to insects than those that live locally, as an immunity to the insect appears to develop with repeated exposure or bites in the past. If there are many bites, or your reaction is severe, then antihistamine tablets may also be helpful to deal with extended periods of itching.

Your community pharmacist is also able to advise you of suitable products to use to repel biting mosquitos, sand flies and other insects; as well as advise you about how to discourage insects from being attracted to you or your surroundings.