Sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes are a few of the symptoms you may experience if you have allergies. Allergies may be seasonal in nature, active when certain trees or plants are blooming, or year-round, due to exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites, animal dander or mold. The best way to relieve allergy symptoms is to avoid contact with what you're allergic to but this isn't always possible. Fortunately, there are products available that can help you get relief. Ask your doctor which products are right for you. read more about allergy and sinus medicine »
When you feel congested, one way to get relief is by flushing your nasal passages with saline. There are ready-to-use nasal rinses, gels and mists that help to clear stuffy nasal passages so you can breathe easier. Saline nasal mists clear debris and mucous and moisten and protect irritated nasal passages. These mists also help to normalize the function of tiny hair cells called cilia that help to remove mucous. Doctors often recommend saline nasal solutions for people with allergies or sinus problems.
Most allergy symptoms are caused by the release of a chemical called histamine. There are over-the-counter medications that help to block histamine. These medications offer temporary relief of common allergy symptoms like itching, sneezing, and runny nose. Diphenhydramine is one antihistamine found in allergy-relief products but it can cause drowsiness, making it best for nighttime use. Another antihistamine called cetirizine causes less drowsiness than diphenhydramine but may still be sedating for some people. There are other antihistamines available in allergy-relief products, some of which are sedating and others less so. Be sure to read the product label before taking an allergy medication; and if you have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, talk to your doctor first.
Antihistamines taken orally or in the form of eye drops are also important in allergy eye care. One of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction is itchy, watery eyes. Antihistamines can ease the symptoms associated with eye allergies. Antihistamine eye drops are useful when symptoms appear suddenly and quick relief is needed. Oral antihistamines are often most helpful when taken preventatively (before symptoms appear) in those who suffer with eye allergies.
Decongestant nasal sprays provide temporary relief of stuffiness and nasal congestion due to allergies or sinus issues. The sprays contain ingredients that ease congestion and stuffiness by constricting the blood vessels that line your nasal passages. Although effective, using decongestant nasal sprays more frequently than the directions recommend or using them longer than a few days can lead to "rebound congestion" where the symptoms worsen. Always follow the directions when using a decongestant nasal spray and don't use it more often than recommended. Some decongestant nasal sprays offer up to 12 hours of relief from congestion and stuffiness. There are also decongestants available that you take orally to help relieve stuffiness. Oral decongestants can elevate blood pressure and may not be appropriate to take if you have certain medical conditions. It's best to speak with your doctor first before taking an oral decongestant. Some allergy relief products target multiple symptoms. These multi-symptom relief products combine the power of an antihistamine with a decongestant to relieve stuffiness.
Air Care: A Drug-Free Approach to Allergy and Sinus Relief
Also available are nasal strips you place on your nose to help relieve nasal congestion. These strips help to reduce resistance to air flow by opening your nasal passages more as you inhale and exhale. They have the advantage of being completely drug-free.
Allergy and Asthma Care
In some people, allergies can cause reactions in the lungs called asthma. This can make it difficult to breathe. Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma and is triggered by things in the environment that you are allergic to like dust mites, mold, pollen, and animal dander. As with any allergy, the best treatment is to avoid the things that make your symptoms worse. Whether you have seasonal allergies, sinus problems or asthma, there are a number of products available to help you breathe easier. Ask your doctor which is right for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.