Quickly available weapons

Sneezing, runny nose, tearing ... Seasonal allergies affect more and more French people. Faced with these disabling symptoms, many people turn to their pharmacist. What help can this health professional provide us? The point with the National Order of Pharmacists.

The advice of the pharmacist

Each year, more and more French people suffer from hay fever. One in five people is currently affected by this form of allergy in industrialized countries. 1 Many patients with allergic rhinitis do not see a doctor. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 20% of people with rhinitis ask their pharmacist for advice. 2. What help do you expect from this health professional?

Even if the general condition of these patients remains good, without fever or severe pain, these repeated symptoms can handicap social and professional life. Fatigue is also present in the most resistant individuals.

People often turn to their usual pharmacist. The latter will then ask a few questions: Are these sneezing in bursts? Very clear and liquid nasal discharge? Possibly itching in the nose and / or throat? Did these symptoms suddenly occur? Have you experienced them recently or last year at the same time? Were you recently in a park, in the countryside or in the forest? ...

If there are positive answers to most of these questions, it is very likely that it is an allergy, especially if it is already sensitized to other substances (mites, domestic animal, food ...). ).

The Three Seasons of Problem Pollens

The season of trees. It begins in January in the south of the United States with the pollens of cypress, juniper, cedar. It is prolonged in April by the trees with kittens: oak, birch, plane tree, beech tree ... The pollens of trees causing the greatest number of allergies are those of the cypresses, the birches and the plane trees. >

The grass season. It is the best known of the pollen seasons. It culminates between May and July, sometimes later in the mid-altitude zones. Some grasses have strong allergenicity. Among them: cocksfoot, timothy, tares, quackgrass, wheat, oats ...

The herbaceous season. It begins during the grass season and extends according to the regions until the autumn. Among the species with the most allergenic potential are ambrosia, particularly in the Lyon region, parietary, mugwort, sorrel, nettle.

Faced with these symptoms, several weapons are immediately available.

To help the allergic person effectively, the pharmacist will give priority to a general antihistamine in the form of tablets. Second-generation antihistamines cause fewer adverse effects, including drowsiness. Treatment will be short-lived. Some exist in generic form.

According to the discomfort experienced by the allergic person, the pharmacist will associate, if necessary, with this antihistamine a local treatment

- For the nose, a nasal spray based on sea water or physiological saline. Individuals whose nasal mucosa is dried out after a large nasal discharge will be able to ensure a prolonged re-wetting with a sodium hyaluronate spray: - For eyes, a collyre, in a classic bottle or in individual pods , Based on, for example, sodium cromoglycate will relieve effectively the itching and swelling of the eyelids. This product is available in classic vial and individual pods.

The pharmacist will accompany these counseling treatments: if after one week the symptoms of allergy have not improved, or if another symptom manifests, such as cough or skin allergy, acute sinusitis, respiration Difficult and wheezing, the pharmacist will direct the patient to his doctor.

If necessary, depending on the importance of the symptoms and the discomfort experienced, the latter may be led to refer him to an allergist to search for allergy through skin tests or a blood test. We must not hesitate to use the skin tests which are now efficient and fast: their results are known in the majority of cases during the first consultation. It will then be possible to desensitize the offending substance, an act now well developed.

The 8 commands of allergy sufferers

Any allergic person should if possible

- avoid being in contact with the allergen feared - avoid intense physical activities outside during the pollination of the plant to which you are allergic - avoid the parks and gardens where you have just mowed - Grass - Do not go out, as much as possible, in the early morning or late afternoon, during which the pollen levels are highest in the atmosphere - Wear a mask if it should garden - In car, roll closed windows during pollen peaks - Have the filters of his car regularly changed if it is equipped with an air conditioning system (these filters reduce the pollen entering the car by mechanically purifying the air From the ventilation circuit of air conditioning) - Possibly, consult a pollen calendar to choose his holiday location.

1 - Epidemiological data from the World Health Organization 2 - Press release Institut Pasteur: Prevention of asthma by the management of allergic rhinitis: the role of the pharmacist, Program ARIA - Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma - WHO, 22 October 2002. 3 - Dr Pierrick Hordé, allergist, author of the Pollen Allergy Guide, Flammarion Editions

Press release of the National Order of Pharmacists