Posted on

Choose correct medication for allergies

Choose correct medication for allergies Choose correct medication for allergies

It’s that time of year again – spring has sprung and so have seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. Seasonal allergies affect as many as 60 million people, per year, in the United States.

These allergies can manifest during specific seasons or persist year-round, depending on the allergen, leading to symptoms like sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes and throat irritation.

Choose the Right Medication – It’s important to choose the right allergy medication to treat symptoms. For example, if eyes are watery and itchy, preferably, eye drops. If it’s a runny or congested nose, nasal sprays could be the way to go.

Other over-the-counter medication options include antihistamines, commonly used for relief from sneezing, itching and a runny nose; decongestants, which are helpful in reducing congestion and sinus pressure; combination medications include both an antihistamine and a decongestant are also available.

Consult with a pharmacist before trying any new medication, to ensure there are no interactions with current prescription medications.

Follow Dosage Instructions – It’s important to follow dosage instructions carefully when taking allergy medications. Taking too much medication can be harmful, while taking too little may not provide relief. Always read the label, and follow the instructions provided by a healthcare provider or the package insert.

Take Medications at the Right Time – The timing of allergy medication can be crucial. Some medications, such as antihistamines, work best when taken before exposure to allergens, while others, like decongestants, may be more effective when taken after exposure.

Be Aware of Side Effects – Allergy medications can have side effects, so it’s essential to be aware of these before taking them. Common side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness, dry mouth and blurred vision. Decongestants can cause nervousness, jitteriness and an increased heart rate. Nasal corticosteroids can lead to nasal irritation, a sore throat and nosebleeds.

Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances – Some allergy medications can interact with alcohol and other substances, such as certain medications or herbal supplements. Always read the label, and consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist, before trying any new medications or supplements. Alcohol can exacerbate certain allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion and headache, so it’s best to avoid it during allergy season.

Keep Medications on Hand – Allergy symptoms can strike at any time, so it’s important to keep medications readily available. Consider keeping a supply at home, at work and in the car to ensure access to relief when needed.

Consider Allergy Shots – If allergies are severe or persistent, allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, may be an option. This treatment involves regular injections of small amounts of allergens over several years, to desensitize the immune system and reduce symptom severity.

If persistent or severe symptoms are experienced, talk to a primary care provider or local pharmacist about the best treatment options.