Are you tired of those nagging allergies? Are they preventing you from doing the things you like? Well, fortunately for you, there are many different options available that may help resolve your symptoms. Most products are available over-the-counter so they can easily be picked up while you’re out shopping. We will go over a couple of different classes of medications and describe their effects. Take a look and see which one may be best for you.
Allergy symptoms can persist for weeks up to months. It is important to differentiate them from cold symptoms which may last anywhere from 3 to 14 days. You can help determine if you have allergies or a cold by paying attention to when your symptoms begin. If they seem to occur during the winter, then there is a good chance it is a cold versus the summertime when all of the pollen is released. Itchy, watery eyes are a classic symptom of seasonal allergies. The itchiness may also be present in your throat. Don’t be alarmed if you develop a sore throat as it can be caused by constant irritation. A runny nose is another typical sign of seasonal allergies. These symptoms are caused by your body’s release of histamine in response to contact with certain allergens.
These symptoms are often a result of nasal allergies, which is referred to as rhinitis. There are three types of rhinitis:
Seasonal allergic rhinitis.
If your symptoms occur in the spring, you might be allergic to tree pollen. During the summer time, grass and weed pollens are common offenders and in the late parts of summer, ragweed is a major cause.
This can be triggered by certain medications, exposure to cold air, strong smells, or exercise.
Perennial allergic rhinitis.
Symptomatic throughout the year and common for people who are allergic to certain indoor allergens. These included dust mites, molds, or pets. Allergy symptoms are bothersome to many people, but medication can help.
Seasonal Allergy Medications
The first class of medications is called Antihistamines. As talked about earlier, your body produces histamine in response to certain allergens triggering all of those symptoms. These medications work by blocking your body’s response to histamine. Antihistamines will work for symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes/throat, or a post-nasal drip. Benadryl is a common antihistamine, but be aware that it can cause a lot of drowsiness. Other antihistamines, such as Claritin (loratidine), Allegra (fexofenadine), or Zyrtec (cetirizine) can also help with these symptoms without causing as much drowsiness.
Some products can also come with a decongestant mixed with it. Decongestants are great for that nasal congestion that you can’t seem to get rid of. If you feel stuffed with a lot of sinus pressure, these products may be good for you. The most common decongestant is pseudoephedrine. Be aware there is a limit on the sale of pseudoephedrine though. You can tell if your antihistamine comes with pseudoephedrine by checking the label for a “D” (Ex: Claritin-D). Though these medications can be helpful, people with certain medical conditions such as enlarged prostate, glaucoma, diabetes, or high blood pressure should avoid use of these decongestants.
As with all over the counter medications, talk to your doctor before using as some medications can carry certain risks for people.
For more information, please visit: acaai.org/allergies