Millions of Americans suffer from allergies, which can cause discomfort in the nasal passages, eyes, and sinuses. While some people experience symptoms seasonally, others may deal with allergies year-round. If you're among those who experience allergy symptoms, there are several tips you can use to get the most out of your medications.
Antihistamines are the most commonly used medicines for allergies. They work by blocking histamine, the chemical responsible for many allergic reactions. Nonsedating antihistamines are now available, which are less likely to cause drowsiness and sleepiness when used as directed. While they may be slightly slower to take effect, their benefits last longer. However, if you experience drowsiness as a side effect, talk to your doctor.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays are very effective in treating nasal allergies. These anti-inflammatory nasal sprays can relieve many allergy symptoms, such as runny nose and congestion. They can be used alone or in combination with antihistamines. Some nasal corticosteroid sprays are available over-the-counter, without a prescription. Saline nose sprays can also be used for mild symptoms of nasal itching and congestion.
If you have seasonal allergies, it is best to start using antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids before the expected allergy season to get the best results. Starting medication before the onset of symptoms can reduce the severity of your symptoms. However, be aware that some medications can relieve symptoms quickly, but their long-term effectiveness builds up slowly.
Topical nasal decongestant sprays can provide quick relief from symptoms but should only be used for short periods, no longer than three to five days. After that, they can actually increase congestion. Liquid or tablet decongestants do not have this problem.
It is important to use nasal corticosteroids correctly, especially now that they are available without a prescription. Use your opposite hand to administer the nasal spray to the nostril. Use your left hand to administer to the right nostril and your right hand to administer to the left nostril. This technique directs the spray away from the nasal septum and reduces the risk of side effects and other problems.
Some allergy products are only available by prescription, including some oral, nasal, and ophthalmic antihistamines, certain nasal corticosteroids, and leukotriene blockers. Talk to your allergist about these products.
In conclusion, there are many medications available to treat allergies effectively. Knowing how to use them correctly can help you get the most out of your medications and reduce the severity of your symptoms. Talk to your doctor or allergist about the best treatment options for your specific needs.