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News | April 29, 2024

Munson Pharmacy may have relief for Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

By Maria Yager, Munson Army Health Center Public Affairs

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas – One telltale sign that spring is, literally, in the air, is a fine powdery layer of pollen that can be found coating surfaces outdoors.

Pollen comes from trees, plants and grasses, and as the wind carries it through the air that we breathe, it may cause various symptoms, or none at all, in individuals who are exposed to them.

“This time of year, there are very high pollen counts from trees and grasses, which may cause individuals to experience nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, sneezing, itchy eyes -- all common symptoms of seasonal allergies,” said Dr. Michael Dlugopolski, a physician at Munson Army Health Center’s Department of Primary Care.

For many veteran seasonal allergy sufferers, relief may be found from over-the-counter medications that treat these symptoms or prevent them in the first place. At Munson, Military Health System beneficiaries may pick-up two over the counter medications without a prescription per person per week from the pharmacy with no out-of-pocket expense.

Munson Pharmacist Capt. Jacob VanBemmel explained how these medications work.

“Traditional antihistamines work to block allergens from triggering a cascade of inflammatory compounds that cause swelling, irritation, and drainage -- the body’s natural reaction to remove foreign materials,” said VanBemmel. He said that newer antihistamines carried on the OTC list such as cetirizine and loratadine are formulated to be taken once a day and cause less drowsiness than antihistamines from earlier generations.

Other medication can help provide symptomatic relief but will not block the inflammation caused by allergies. Both a nasal saline rinse kit and refill packs, to irrigate and rinse out the nasal passages of allergy compounds, and oxymetazoline nasal spray to help manage allergy symptoms, are available at Munson through the OTC benefit.

While some symptoms may be managed with over-the-counter medications, Dlugopolski said that you should seek medical attention if you experience fever or chills, tightness of chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, progressive sinus pain, and undue ear pain.

If you have never taken allergy medication before, have sleep-related-disorders, high blood pressure, or heart conditions, or have had a change in your health history or prescription medications since your last check-up, or have individual concerns, please consult with your primary care manager before taking over the counter allergy medication. Individuals may message their care-team through the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal with their concerns.

This information is provided for informational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice.

See our website for a full list of available OTC medications and talk to our pharmacists for any questions or recommendations you may need.

The pharmacy is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and closed weekends and federal holidays.
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