It’s that time of the year where allergy symptoms affect your daily routine.
What causes Allergies?
Allergies are usually caused by allergens (dust, mold, grass, pollen and ragweed) that enter your bodies through your nose and lungs. Your immune system recognizes these allergens as harmful foreign bodies and overreacts producing antibodies that causes the release of histamine. Histamine causes inflammation that leads to your common symptoms such as runny nose and watery eyes.
What is the Allergy Forecast?
The time and severity of an allergy season varies throughout the country. Fall allergies are most commonly caused by a plant that grows everywhere, called the Ragweed. It’s activity from August to November blooming and releasing pollen. Your allergist can help you identify your allergen to help you treat and prevent the symptoms.
Over the Counter Allergy medications?
A lot of the allergy medications are available over the counter. There are 2 types of medications that help you treat different symptoms of allergies and both are available in various forms without a prescription.
Antihistamines help with sneezing, itching and runny nose.
Common antihistamines over the counter:
The most common side effect of antihistamines is drowsiness, which can affect your mental alertness. Benadryl is a first generation antihistamine, and therefore causes the most drowsiness. While the newer generation antihistamine cause less side effects (Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec). Taking them before going to bed can minimize the side effect. The combination of the antihistamine and decongestant can also offset some of the drowsiness. Always consult with a pharmacist or your doctor before using antihistamine.
Decongestants help with stuffy nose and drainage. These are your vasoconstrictors that help relieve nasal congestion.
Common decongestants 0ver the counter:
- Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
- Claritin D
- Zyrtec D
The most common side effects are insomnia, palpitations, increased blood pressure, dizziness nausea and vomiting. Combination of decongestant and antihistamine can help set off some of the side effects. You should always consult with a pharmacist or your doctor before using it because of the severity of the side effects.
Another way to treat your allergy symptoms are Nasal Steroids. These are glucocorticoids available without prescription, they help reduce inflammation, mucus and congestion in your nose. The second generation nasal steroids such as Flonase have less of a chance of systemic absorption and hence side effects. They are the first line treatment for seasonal allergies. The downside is that it takes a few hours for them to start working.
Antihistamines and Decongestants will help you with the symptoms of allergies but will not cure allergies. There is no reason to suffer from allergies, there are plenty of choices over the counter that can help you start feeling like yourself again.