How to deal with seasonal allergies and heart conditions

Do you look forward to the warm weather and budding flowers that signal spring, or dread the pollen and other allergens to come? Dealing with allergy symptoms is never fun, but it can be additionally complicated if you have a heart condition.

Forecasts for this year indicate pollen counts will be above normal in the southeastern United States, and most of the East Coast. A recent photo of “pollencopalypse” over Durham, NC, by photographer Jeremy Gilchrist went viral after showing how thick the pollen in the air can be in spring.

Many popular allergy medications can be safely taken by people with heart conditions, but there are some ingredients that can raise blood pressure or interfere with heart medications. As with any medicine, it is best to discuss your options with your doctor or health care provider, but below are some tips to guide you in the allergy medication aisle:

  • Avoid the “D” for decongestants, which can raise blood pressure or cause heart palpitations. Popular allergy medications include decongestants to help relieve allergy symptoms, and manufacturers of these drugs will add “D” to their packaging, such as Claritin-D or Allegra-D.
  • Antihistamines should be okay to use; however check with your doctor to be sure. Evidence shows that antihistamines like Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec are effective against seasonal allergies and should be fine for people with heart conditions.

Although it is impossible to avoid pollen in areas where it is prevalent, there are other ways to help reduce your symptoms, too. Keep windows and doors closed during the spring to avoid pollen entering your house. In addition, wearing a face mask when stirring up pollen during yard work can also help to keep symptoms at bay.