Seasonal Allergies FAQ

With seasonal allergy season here, we have some common questions our pharmacists field daily. From symptoms to treatments, continue reading for answers. You can also speak to a pharmacist for advice on what products may be right for you.

What are some usual seasonal allergy symptoms?

Seasonal allergies commonly cause itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose, or nasal congestion.

How can I tell if my symptoms are due to an allergy or COVID-19?

Many of the symptoms of seasonal allergies and COVID-19 are similar.  You should use a COVID-19 rapid antigen test if you have one, especially if the symptoms are new to you. Then talk to a health care provider for further advice.

What treatments are available for seasonal allergies?

Your pharmacist can advise you about which treatment is best for you. There are many non-prescription and prescription options (oral tablets/liquid, nasal sprays, eye drops, injections) to help relieve your symptoms.

What if I try an allergy treatment and it isn’t working?

Talk to you pharmacist or doctor for further advice and options.

To learn more about seasonal allergies, watch this video. If you have questions about allergy treatments or if you need help selecting a product to relieve your symptoms, your London Drugs pharmacists are always happy to help you.

The air you breathe: keeping the air in your home safe

Dry, itchy skin is just one of the problems that dry air can cause. When the air is dry, your respiratory system can suffer as well. Your nasal passages can dry out all the way down to your lungs, leading to a dry mouth and coughing, even if you have no medical problems. If you do have any lung issues, dry air can make them worse. You can raise the moisture level of the air in your home by using a humidifier. A humidifier can help relieve:
• Asthma and allergy flare-ups
• Chronic runny nose
• Dry throat
• Hay fever symptoms
• Nose bleeds
• Sinus congestion
• Cough and flu symptoms

Types of Humidifiers

There are a number of different types of portable humidifiers that provide excellent options that allow you to adjust the humidity in specific rooms where you spend a lot of time, such as bedrooms or a home office.

Cool mist evaporators utilize a wicking filter system to draw water out of the reservoir. A small fan pulls dry air from the room through the saturated wicking filter. Moisture from the filter evaporates and is pushed back into the room by the fan.

Warm-mist humidifiers produce a steam vapour that is up to 95% bacteria-free. This vapour mixes with dry air in a cooling chamber and releases soothing, warm moisture into the room.

Getting the most benefit

In order to get the most benefit from your humidifier, it is important to keep it clean and make sure it is in proper working order:
• Change the water regularly. Bacteria and mould can grow in standing water. And wash any buckets or filter systems every two or three days.
• Follow the manufacturer’s directions about how often to change the filter.
• Check your home’s humidity level every few days to ensure that the air isn’t too humid. Health Canada recommends, the humidity level in your home should be no lower than 30% in the winter and maximum 55% in the summer.

Air purifiers

A humidifier is an excellent option for keeping the humidity in your home at a healthy level, but it may not be all you need to make the air in your home safe. Lack of ventilation indoors can trap pollutants such as dust and pollen. In fact, the air in most homes contains more pollution than the air outside. Air purifiers can help reduce:
• Allergens such as dust, pollen and pet odours
• Asthma triggers including dry skin cells, dirt, perfumes, household cleaners, and smoke from cooking
• Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
• Fumes and pollutants that come in from outdoors
• Tobacco smoke that can trigger health problems such as heart disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections

Air purifiers are an excellent way to reduce allergens, such as dust, pollen and even pet odours, if you’re a pet owner.

There are different types of air purifiers to help capture indoor pollutants:
• True HEPA Air Cleaners are recommended for people suffering from allergy and asthma symptoms. These devices help reduce up to 99.9% of certain airborne viruses and bacteria. Certified Hepa air filters capture up to 99.97% of airborne allergens.
• HEPA-type & ifD® models are recommended for or those who want fresher, cleaner air in their homes. These units capture up to 99.9% of harmful particles and germs.

Air is something no one can live without, so it makes sense to do whatever you can to make the air in your home healthy and safe. London Drugs carries a number of humidifiers and vapourizers that will help provide relief for congestion and ease breathing. If you are unsure of which appliance will best suit your needs, our team of pharmacists will be happy to help you.

Double Check your EpiPen with Health Canada Advisory


With the holidays, specifically Halloween, fast approaching, it’s a good bet you and your family will be indulging a bit more on treats and different dishes you wouldn’t normally eat. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared should you or a loved one have an allergic reaction.

Pfizer Canada has advised Health Canada that, in a very small number of cases, some EpiPen (0.3 mg) and EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) auto-injector devices may not slide out of their carrier tube easily, or at all. Although the chance of this occurring is very rare, failure to administer epinephrine as soon as possible during an anaphylactic response could lead to patient disability or death.

Currently, Pfizer has indicated that this issue – a deformation on the open rim of the plastic carrier tube may be present – may affect any EpiPen auto-injectors currently on the market in Canada expiring prior to and including September 2020.

Consumers should check that their EpiPen devices can be removed from the carrier tubes with ease.

For more information on EpiPen and EpiPen Jr advisory from Health Canada, click HERE


8 Natural Remedies to Relieve Your Allergies

Achoo! The seasonal battle has begun against sneezing fits, sinus problems, hay fever, and eyes that itch. Yes, you know it well: allergy season. With spring flowers comes a sensitivity to the environment—pollen, grass, dust, mold, bug bites, and more. We know they can be annoying to deal with, but how can we properly equip ourselves naturally against allergy symptoms? 

Boy Allergies Pollen Natural Remedy London Drugs Blog

While there may not be one secret weapon to eliminate every allergy symptom, there are a number of natural tools you can use to help you fight your seasonal allergies. Here are a few ways to naturally relieve your allergies.

1. Schedule any outdoor exercise in the evening

If you love taking spring time strolls, waiting to do so until after midday may help to lessen your allergy symptoms. Because most trees release their pollen early in the morning, waiting until the proverbial dust settles (and isn’t swirling around in the air you breathe) can make your time outdoors more bearable.

2. Change your clothes when you come home

When you come home from work, school, or errands, change into other clothing when you return to your house. Pollen likes to hitchhike on your clothing and stick to it like tiny sea urchins, so toss your outside clothes into the wash to prevent pollen from infiltrating the stronghold of your home.

3. Use a Neti Pot to decongest

If you’ve never used a Neti Pot before, you may be a little bit intimidated by the thought of pouring water up your nose. It’s actually not that uncomfortable (really!). It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite effective, and will become a staple in your allergy-fighting regimen. Rinsing with a saline solution up to twice a day for short periods of time can help to clear out your nasal passages and help to lessen the effects of allergies on your sinuses. Learn more about the Neti Pot on our Pharmacy website.

4. Eat local raw honey

Many an allergy-sufferer claims that eating local honey helps them battle seasonal symptoms. It needs to be local because it will contain a wide sampling of different pollen carried on the bees who made it. By gradually exposing themselves to small amounts of local pollen, many people report it noticeably helping them build up a pollen tolerance and overall decreasing their allergy symptoms.

5. Purify the air in your home

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in your appliances—like vacuum cleaners—can help ensure that allergens are taken out of the air in your home, instead of being stirred up and dispersed when you clean. There are also free-standing HEPA towers that you can put in high-traffic areas that will work to keep the air in your home as clear as possible.

6. Use essential oils for support

There are many essential oils that can help to support your immune system while it battles allergies. Add them to a homemade all-purpose cleaner, mix with water in a diffuser, or dilute and apply directly to your pulse points. Especially effective against hay fever, some favourites are lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and peppermint.

7. Put turmeric on everything

This vibrant spice, belonging to the ginger family, is about to become your new best friend. Turmeric contains curcumin, which acts as a decongestant and is a natural antihistamine. If you’re not sure what kinds of dishes you can add this superhero of a spice to, try making this golden turmeric tea recipe in under five minutes. It’s also perfect for curries and stir-fry.

8. Eat allergy-fighting foods

Natural Allergy Support Hayfever Fruits London Drugs

Mother Nature provides many kinds of foods that contain antihistamines, and incorporating as many as you can into your diet can help naturally ward off allergy symptoms. Naturopaths often recommend eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and deep yellow and orange vegetables as often as possible.

So there you have it: your natural weapons against allergies! If you’d like more information on allergy support and managing your symptoms, talk to one of our London Drugs Pharmacists or read more on our Pharmacy website.

Study shows fewer than half of children with severe allergies receive life-saving epinephrine

Reminder: Check expiration dates and replace expired epinephrine auto-injectors before children head back to school

When children with life threating allergies experience anaphylaxis, parents, teachers and other caregivers often fail to administer epinephrine, according to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in July. The study showed that less than 40 per cent of kids — even those who had previously experienced anaphylaxis and been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector — received a dose of the drug before they got to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic after experiencing a reaction.

London Drugs Pharmacy Manager, Gianni Del Negro says that the research suggests a need for more anaphylaxis education and awareness.

“While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to using auto-injectors such as the EpiPen. It is critical for anyone working with school-age children to be able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and understand how to use auto-injectors,” he says.

Within minutes, an allergic reaction can turn into a life-threatening situation. Using epinephrine immediately after exposure to an allergy trigger can help reverse the symptoms.

“Reaction times and symptoms are different for each child and there is no way to predict the severity of a reaction because the signs may not be the same for each occurrence. If a child has a known risk for anaphylaxis and caregivers suspect they may be experiencing a reaction, it is better to administer an injection rather than wait for paramedics or emergency care,” says Del Negro.

Since the effects of epinephrine can wear off and children can have subsequent allergic reactions, caregivers are advised to call 911 or take the child to the emergency room immediately after using an auto-injector.

He suggests that parents of children with severe allergies work with teachers and caregivers at the start of each school year to create an action plan with an explanation of the child’s allergy triggers, what to do in case of reaction, where they have access to epinephrine and how to administer emergency anaphylactic treatment.

The start of a new school year is an important time to check expiration dates since epinephrine auto-injectors expire. Expired products can be properly disposed of at any London Drugs location and pharmacists are available to counsel patients on how to properly administer them. Prescriptions are not required for epinephrine auto-injectors; however, some insurance plans cover them if the patient has a prescription.

 Signs and symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction may include:

  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Seizures


Anaphylaxis Preparedness: Making the Classroom Safe for the 300,000 Canadian Children With Allergies


Teachers, parents and caregivers still need broadened awareness of emergent anaphylactic treatment required for school-age children with severe allergies, say pharmacists.

Understanding how to administer epinephrine in an emergency is just as important as other lifesaving skills like CPR or the Heimlich maneuver,” says London Drugs Pharmacist, Jason Chan-Remillard. “While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to emergent anaphylactic treatment.”

For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place. Teachers, parents and caregivers must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to initiate treatment.