Like millions of Americans, DAYS OF OUR LIVES’s Alison Sweeney (Sami) is an allergy sufferer; an allergy sufferer who went to her local pharmacy one day, only to discover that the medicine she relied on to keep her symptoms at bay was no longer on the shelf. To educate people who might have undergone the same experience, and to inform everyone out there about treatment options that might be right for them, Sweeney has teamed up with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and McNeil Consumer Healthcare to launch the Behind the Counter Counts campaign.Soap Opera Weekly: How did you proceed when you discovered your medicine was no longer on the drugstore shelf?
Alison Sweeney: I take Zyrtec-D. I saw the little card that said you had to go to the pharmacy counter. So I went. The pharmacist explained to me that I needed to show my driver’s license to get it. So I showed my license and signed something. Then I got my medicine and was on my way. That’s what we’re trying to bring people’s attention to: That the medicine they used to take, or that they can take to help relieve allergy symptoms, is available behind the counter. That’s where I get mine, and people can ask their pharmacist for more information to get the resources they need. They can also go to btccenter.com for more information.
Weekly: This is a cause you can obviously really relate to.
Sweeney: Yes. That’s why, when I was approached and asked to participate in this campaign, I said, “Yes!” I want to help other people bring awareness to the way they can deal with their own allergy symptoms. I don’t spend a lot of time wondering what causes my allergies, or worrying about that side of it. I want to deal with it. I don’t want to have the symptoms anymore. I want to find a way to combat them and move on with my day, and not think about it.
Weekly: Is it hard dealing with allergies as an actress?
Sweeney: I just always have to keep my medicine with me in my purse. As I jokingly said the other day at work, “Sami cries enough. I need to make sure my allergies are not part of why she has a red nose.”
Weekly: Also, you don’t want to create more work for the show’s makeup artists, right?
Sweeney: They’ll smack you upside the head if you’re making their job harder for them [laughs]. Having congestion is the worst. You’re blowing your nose all the time. Your nose gets itchy. Then, it’s red. Then, it’s red on camera and they’re trying to touch you up. At Days, we have to move fast. The makeup artists are running to-and-fro, constantly touching you up. That frustrates everybody. [As an allergy sufferer], you have to be on top of your game. I put together a list of five tips that are on the btccenter.com Web site.
Weekly: Can you share any?
Sweeney: One of them is being prepared. I keep Zyrtec-D in my dressing room and in my purse. You never know when you’re going to start to feel those allergy symptoms, so you want to be ready to take the medicine whenever you need it. Another is washing your hands, which is good to do in general. But when you’re dealing with allergies, it’s really important. You don’t want to get allergens in your eyes, because the next thing you know, you’ll have itchy, watery eyes. Another thing to do is try to avoid triggers. I’m allergic to cats and pollen, and have standard hay fever. Of course, I can’t avoid going outside, but I do stay away from cats. That’s an easy one.