Making Sense of Allergy Treatment Options
With all the various types of allergy medications in the market, it can be difficult to make sense of what will work best to relieve your allergy symptoms. Over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines or nasal sprays can provide you with temporary relief from allergy symptoms. However, it helps to understand what symptoms each type treats before you make your purchase to get the best results.
When you are exposed to something that you are allergic to, your body reacts by releasing histamine. Histamine acts on the local tissues and you experience sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose. Most people gravitate to three main antihistamines to relieve those symptoms:
- Claritin (Loratadine) – Usually effective for milder symptoms.
- Zyrtec (Cetirizine) – Can make your feel sleepy and cannot be used by some individuals, i.e. pilots when on duty.
- Allegra (Fexofenadine) – Usually costs more than Claritin and Zyrtec.
Along with histamine, other substances are released with allergic reactions. These substances cause allergy symptoms, including the congestion that an antihistamine cannot relieve. Nasal corticosteroid sprays can relieve all of the same symptoms that antihistamines can and the congestion they cannot, which makes them more effective than antihistamines. They are most effective when used at the first signs of allergy symptoms and on an every day basis. There are three main nasal sprays available over-the-counter:
- Flonase (Fluticasone) – active ingredient is mixed in a different base than Nasacort and Rhinocort are, which makes it work better, but many people complain of its flowery smell.
- Nasacort (Triamcinolone)
- Rhinocort (Budesonide)
If you think you are suffering from allergies, try a combination of an over the counter medication and nasal spray. To help you determine if you should see an allergist, CLICK HERE.