Over-the-Counter Allergy Help

Provided by ModernMom

Just because you suffer from allergies doesn't mean that you have to accept seasonal periods of discomfort. Finding relief from your allergy symptoms doesn't even require a doctor's visit. Instead of heading to your M.D. every time your allergies kick up, select from an assortment of over-the-counter allergy relief options to ease your symptoms and make your seasonal allergies a bit easier to bear.

Decongestant aids

If your allergies often leave you congested, decongestants could make your symptoms less intrusive on your daily life. Decongestants reduce the swelling of tissues in your nose, making breathing easier and clearing that stuffed-up feeling that many associate with an allergic reaction. Popular over-the-counter decongestants include Sudafed® and Zyrtec-D®.

Antihistamine allergy relief

Antihistamine medications block your body's release of histamine, reducing your allergy symptoms. Histamine attaches to blood vessels and leads them to swell, producing the congestion and difficulty in breathing that many allergy sufferers experience. Drugs such as Benadryl®, Tavist® and Chlor-Trimeton®, all of which are available without a prescription, work to block histamine production, preventing congestion before it starts.

Combination medications

Some drugs blend the power of decongestants and antihistamines by combining the two drugs into one, easy-to-take-medication. The drugs of this type include Tylenol® Allergy and Sinus and Benadryl® Allergy and Sinus. While these drugs provide double protection from allergy symptoms, they are also commonly stronger than general allergy medications and should be taken with extra care.

Topical treatments

If you want to put an end to your allergy symptoms but are hesitant to take pills, a topical treatment may be your best bet. Topical medications such as cortisone can effectively reduce allergy-related rashes. You can also turn to a topical option if you want to eliminate allergy-related congestion by selecting a nose spray such as Ocean® Nasal or Neo-Synephrine®. These sprays often include many of the same chemicals as decongestants or antihistamines, but are administered directly into the nose.

Drug interaction risks

Just because a drug is available over the counter does not mean that you can take it without worrying about drug interactions. Before you add any medicine, over-the-counter or prescription, to your medication list, consult your physician. Over-the-counter medications can still interact negatively with other medications you are taking. To prevent this, give your doctor a call before you take anything to abate your allergy symptoms.

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