Allergies are a widespread predicament for most individuals. So, if you are coughing, wheezing, suffering from a runny nose, or having a sneezing fit – you are not alone.
But even though allergies can be uncomfortable, they are not very difficult to get rid of. Given below are a few tips to be aware of before you pick out your allergy medication.
1. Is Your Allergy Seasonal or Perennial?
Those pesky symptoms of allergy might not be very long-lasting after all. Your allergic reactions, essentially, can be either seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergies can be caused by cold, pollen, weeds, or grass and are most likely to be seen around January to April every year.
Perennial allergies can be caused by external factors like dust, mites, mold, insects, pet hair, or specific types of food. Allergic reactions to these are not time-bound and can be caused every time you are exposed to them.
Based on whether your allergy is perennial or seasonal, you might have to pick out medication that best suits your condition. Most of this medication is available both OTC as well as with a prescription.
2. What Could Possibly Be Your Symptoms?
Irrespective of whether your allergies are seasonal or perennial, the symptoms can range from incessant sneezing to fatigue. When your body tries to counteract the cause of the reaction, you may find yourself struggling with –
- Runny nose,
- Chest congestion,
- Itchy throat
- Watery or itchy eyes and
3. What Is The Best Allergy Medicine For You?
What medicine will alleviate your symptom entirely depends on the signs of your allergic reaction. Before you pick out the best allergy medicine for you, make sure you do your research. We would not want you to take a laxative for a cold!
But most allergy medication falls in the following four categories –
This type of medication comes in handy when you have symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. Antihistamines, as the name suggests, primarily block histamines in the body and reduce these symptoms.
These come in handy in case of a stuffy nose and are often sold in combination with antihistamines such as Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D, and Claritin-D. A common decongestant is Sudafed.
While most people can take these medicines, people with high blood pressure should avoid them since they can further increase their problems.
Nasal steroids come in handy when you want to reduce your nasal passage inflammation and nasal congestion. Using this in combination with saline drops or sprays is advised as it would keep your nasal passage from drying out.
A few commonly available nasal steroids would be Rhinocort, Flonase, and Nasacort.
Itchy and watery eyes are extremely painful and annoying symptoms of allergies. To combat this, eye drops can be beneficial as they soothe the itching and reduce the redness of the eyes.
Pataday and Zaditor are eye drops which have been approved by the FDA and should soon be available for you in most pharmacies.
4. What Is Better – OTC or Brand Medication?
Whether they are OTC or branded, most medication has the same combination. The only difference between a branded medicine as opposed to that of OTC medication is the price.
Your pharmacist can help you find OTC medication, which is just as great as alleviating your allergy symptoms and are often available at almost a fraction of the price of a branded variety.
5. What If OTC Medication Doesn’t Work For You?
It is not always necessary that the most commonly available medication at your pharmacy might help reduce your allergy symptoms. You should consult a physician to understand the exact requirements for your reaction to specific allergens and then consume the drugs that they prescribe specifically for your condition.
Moreover, while most allergy medication is available over the counter, some might need you to get a prescription from a doctor. In such situations, it’s best to visit your physician and consult them.
6. How Do You Combat Drowsiness Due To Allergy Medications?
Many of us avoid taking allergy medication, fearing that it would instantly put us to sleep. Most older antihistamines like Benadryl can cause drowsiness. While newer ones like Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal are said to be less prone to making you drowsy.
When you are choosing a cough and cold medication, consult your pharmacist and take their help in finding a drug that won’t put you to sleep.
7. Can You Take More Than One Allergy Medication At Once?
Based on your symptoms, you can take allergy medications in combination. For example, taking an antihistamine with a decongestant is entirely acceptable and can be extremely helpful.
However, avoid doubling up on allergy medication. For example, taking Allegra in the morning and Zyrtec in the evening can be harmful until and unless specifically instructed by your physician.
8. Can You Drink Alcohol While On Allergy Medication?
If you are on any medication, consuming alcohol is highly unadvisable. Drinking alcohol while being on an older antihistamine like Benadryl can be extremely dangerous with the risk of side effects and impairment.
While the impact is not as bad when combined with the newer antihistamines, it’s still not a great idea to drink alcohol while having an allergic reaction!
9. Can You Take OTC Allergy Medication Every Day?
OTC allergy medications are not harmful, and it is, therefore, perfectly safe to take them every day. They are relatively mild and only work towards relieving your symptoms.
Moreover, OTC nasal sprays sometimes take up to two weeks to show their impact, and hence, it would be only standard for you to use it for that period. Additionally, you can take antihistamines if you feel sick with any of the relevant symptoms as long as you follow the package instructions.
10. When Should You Avoid Taking Allergy Medication?
If you have prostate issues or glaucoma, you must avoid taking older antihistamines like Benadryl. Non-sedating antihistamines are safe for use by almost anyone. Decongestants are best avoided by those who have high blood pressure.
If you are pregnant or are a new mom who is breastfeeding, it is best to consult your physician before you take any allergy medication for your reactions.
Allergic reactions are pretty common in both adults and children alike. Based on the nature of the allergy and by following proper guidance from your pharmacist, you can make the right choice for a medication that would put you at ease!