Allergy season comes every year and pharmacies need to ensure that patients know how to identify and treat their symptoms accurately. Nearly 15% of Americans (over 24 million) deal with diagnosed hay fever, according to the CDC. Close to 10% of children have some sort of respiratory allergy. Altogether, seasonal allergies cause around 12 million primary care visits each year.
Seasonal allergies generally come with symptoms that can last from a few weeks to an entire season, such as:
- Itchy or watery eyes, nose, or ears
- Nasal congestion
- Occasional sore throats, feelings of fatigue, or headaches due to sinus pressure in severe cases
- In some patients, allergies may trigger pre-existing asthma and cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, or wheezing.
Ways to Help Mitigate Seasonal Allergies
Pharmacists are perfectly positioned to help patients prevent, treat, and manage seasonal allergies. Below are just a few ways your pharmacy can better help patients this allergy season:
Educating Patients on Allergies
When you talk to patients about their symptoms, it may also help to run them through a list of questions that will help narrow things down. Cover factors like recent travel, their proximity to a sick person or common allergens, the time of year, and their history with seasonal allergies.
ZYRTEC®, has a neat AllergyCast® app that patients can use to get insight into the pollen counts in a certain area as well as tips to manage allergy symptoms.
Develop an open line of communication with your patients by initiating discussions about their symptoms and potential causes. Once you’ve confirmed their allergy and treatment, walk them through the medication options along with their potential side effects and encourage questions about usage. Use an online appointment scheduler to set these consultations.
Treat and Prevent Symptoms
Help patients identify potential allergens by walking them through their medical history. Consider their current medications, environment, and family history to pinpoint the culprit and help them prepare for the allergy season with a review of factors that can worsen their symptoms.
Provide OTC Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
Keep your pharmacy stocked up with OTC medications like decongestants and consider offering dehumidifiers and air filters to support patients who don’t need prescriptions for their allergies. Some common medications you might recommend to patients include cetirizine, diphenhydramine, loratadine, and Fexofenadine.
Raise Awareness Using Social Media
Offer proactive advice and education online during allergy seasons on your social media channels. Post allergy tips, advice, and educational content. Share resources that detail the types of allergies, their severity, and symptoms to promote awareness. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has a free social media toolkit that can help you curate posts for your pharmacy social channels.
Need help connecting with your patients this year? Learn more about our suite of digital patient communication and engagement tools by getting in touch today.