By: Justin Ceravolo, PharmD, pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy
It’s that time of year again – the sniffling, sneezing and suffering of allergy season caused by the telltale yellow dust that blankets Southwest Florida for months.
With longer and warmer seasons each year, the spring and fall pollen is literally and figuratively growing worse. Right now, the biggest offenders like tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed pollen are blowing through our breezy coastal region.
These tiny airborne allergens easily get inside your body, and when they do, your immune system goes into defense mode. To combat these intruding allergens, your body releases a chemical, called histamine, which triggers a familiar response you might recognize: sneezing, itchy throat, runny nose or teary eyes.
If you are an allergy sufferer, you are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America, more than 50 million people struggle with it every year.
In its latest 2021 Allergy Capitals report, AAFA placed a Southwest Florida region on its top 50 list of most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies. Cape Coral was ranked No. 33 for allergies during spring season and No. 35 for the months during fall.
So, what can you do if you struggle with seasonal allergies and Southwest Florida is your home? A few proactive steps to recognize, prevent and manage symptoms will bring hope to those with the seasonal stuffy blues.
Reduce Your Exposure
Before planning your day, check local news or the Internet for the area’s pollen count forecast.
Keep doors and windows shut to avoid pollen from coming indoors.
Delegate outdoor chores, such as mowing the lawn and gardening.
Keep floors cleaned and maintain air filters inside the home.
Avoid air-drying clothes and bedding outside where pollen can stick to it.
Prevent Spread & Symptoms
If high pollen counts are forecasted, take allergy medication before symptoms start.
After outdoor activities, change into clean clothes and shower to rinse pollen from skin and hair.
Remove shoes, jackets and hats at the front door.
Wipe pets down with a towel after playing outdoors.
Wear a pollen or dust mask for outdoor activities.
Nonprescription Medication & Remedies
Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching and runny noses.
Antihistamine eye drops can reduce itching and redness.
Specially formulated supplements may support healthy respiratory and immune systems.
Nasal rinse devices, such as a Neti pot, can flush out inhaled pollen and alleviate congestion.
Oral and nasal decongestants can offer temporary relief to help with nasal stuffiness.
Cromolyn sodium nasal sprays can help treat and prevent allergy symptoms.
When stubborn symptoms persist, your pharmacist or physician can identify which over-the-counter medicines are best suited to alleviate your symptoms. They can also help you navigate your options when more severe conditions must be addressed.
Treatment options to manage allergies can range from immunotherapy, such as shots, to prescription-strength antihistamines, decongestants and combination allergy drugs.
In addition, rescue inhalers and other medications can be prescribed for people diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma.
Amid the pandemic, a case of the sniffles, or hay fever, is the last thing you want to stress over. While allergies can’t be cured, they can certainly be managed. Having a seasonal action plan that attacks allergies first is a good place to start, and will keep you from playing catch-up once symptoms arise.
About the Author
Pharmacist Justin Ceravolo is a pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy, a compounding independent pharmacy providing pharmaceutical and healthcare services in Fort Myers for more than 40 years. Cypress Pharmacy offers traditional prescription medications and natural solutions to help patients manage symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. For more information, call 239-481-7322 or visit www.cypresspharmacy.com.
Dr. Brad A. Snead, medical director of Snead Eye Group, announces the grand opening of its new Cape Coral location at 1616 Cape Coral Pkwy. West, Unit 113, in the Camelot Isles Shopping Center.
The new facility is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment for the diagnosis and management of all aspects of eye care including cataracts, glaucoma, eyelid abnormalities, and dry eye.
In addition to featuring the latest in comprehensive eye exam technology, Snead Eye Group states, the new location has a full-service optical department with a broad range of eyewear for women, men and kids.
Snead Eye Group’s new Cape Coral location is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and accepts virtually all medical and vision insurance plans.
Seeing patients at Snead Eye Group’s new Cape Coral office is Dr. Allison Coll whose expertise is primary eye care.
Cape Coral Hospital is home to a new neonatal simulation lab located inside the birthing suites.
The lab will be used for training medical professionals on how to prepare for neonatal emergencies.
The Golisano NICU simulation team oversaw the setup of the lab. The team consisted of NICU nurses and a neonatologist who dedicated time to the simulation of newborn situations. This can lead to improved outcomes for the baby.
The lab features state-of-the-art equipment which provides feedback to the team during the resuscitation.
For those who are disappointed that the Cape Coral Art Festival is not happening this year, this should interest you!
Promenade at Bonita Bay (26795 S. Bay Drive) is preparing its open-air shopping center for a series of outdoor events through mid-March. First on the agenda is Bonita Springs Art Walk on Saturday, January 16th from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, January 17th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brought to the public by Boulderbrook Productions — a Naples-based gallery that produces art-juried events throughout the U.S. — this event is an opportunity for visitors to view a variety of works from local and out-of-area artists.
As guests stroll the pathways and walkways of the Promenade, they can meet each artist, while learning more about each work’s inspiration and purpose and having ample time to discover what they like. Displays include paintings, jewelry, sculptures and much more — all in a creative, unique and easy-to-navigate layout.
“We’re calling on Southwest Florida to experience never-ending culture and the great outdoors, as we continue to celebrate the promising year that’s in front of us,” said Nicole Panio, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator at the Promenade.
“My team looks forward to this event and others like it in the coming months.”
In accordance with the Promenade’s COVID policies, Bonita Springs Art Walk will promote social distancing for the comfort and safety of all guests.
The City of Cape Coral is pleased to announce that in partnership with Curative, a new no cost COVID-19 testing walk-up kiosk will begin operating on Monday, January 4 at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd. (the parking lot across the street from City Hall). Patients will be able to schedule appointments starting Saturday, January 2.
“Curative is proud to be a crucial resource for the Cape Coral community during this pandemic,” said Fred Turner, CEO and co-founder of Curative.
“Curative’s goal is to make testing more accessible with our easy walk-up kiosk. Our unique, self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 PCR test offers a painless, simple option with quick 24-48 hour results upon receipt at our labs and no cost to patients.”
Curative offers oral-fluid swab testing—an alternative method to nasopharyngeal or brain swabs in testing for COVID-19. The observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab involves having the person cough first, which releases virus from the upper and lower respiratory tract. The virus is then caught in the saliva, the patient then swabs the inside of their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths.
Once complete, the patient seals their test within a secure container and returns it to a medical professional to be administered in the lab. The entire Curative test is done without having to come into close contact with others, therefore eliminating the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) changes. The sample collection process can be viewed here.
“Curative is currently contracted to provide service at the Century Link Field testing site and has proven to be an efficient and reliable community partner. We are grateful to be able to work with them to offer additional testing opportunities for the community,” said Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan W. Lamb.
“It will take time before the vaccine is widely available and testing remains an important means of controlling the spread of the virus.”
Testing will be available by walk-up or appointment at 1020 Cultural Park Blvd., the parking lot across the street from City Hall. Appointments can be scheduled at curative.com. Information can also be found on the City’s COVID-19 webpage, capecoral.net/covid-19 and the Fire Department webpage, capecoralfire.com.