– Allergy and sinus symptoms like sneezing and nasal congestion can come on suddenly or develop gradually and linger for long periods of time. Regardless of how or when they strike, you don't want to be sidelined by symptoms. If your doctor has recommended that you manage allergies or sinusitis with the help of over-the-counter medications, drugstore.com can help you find the right medicine for your needs. We have some of the most frequently recommended allergy and sinus medicines available for purchase online. read more about allergy and sinus medicine »
When you find yourself suddenly dealing with sneezing, nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms due to exposure to an allergen, a fast-acting antihistamine may be the solution.
The most commonly used fast-acting over-the-counter allergy medicine is diphenhydramine. This drug usually begins to work quickly, interfering with the immune system chemical histamine, which triggers allergy symptoms when you come in contact with an allergen. It's important to keep in mind that diphenhydramine antihistamines have the potential to make you drowsy. Experts typically advise against driving or using heavy machinery after taking a diphenhydramine medication.
If you develop seasonal allergies or are plagued by allergy symptoms year round, your physician may recommend that you take a different type of antihistamine drug to manage your symptoms. Sometimes called second-generation antihistamines, these drugs interfere with histamine without causing drowsiness.
The medications can take longer to produce noticeable improvements in symptoms. However, they can provide relief for an extended period of time. Some only need to be taken once per day for continued symptom relief. Over-the-counter second-generation antihistamines include fexofenadine, cetirizine and loratadine.
Alleviating Congestion with Oral Drugs and Sprays
Nasal congestion due to allergies or sinusitis can be alleviated with the help of over-the-counter decongestant medications. Available in tablet, capsule, liquid and nasal spray forms, decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in the lining of the nasal passages. This reduces swelling and makes it easier for you to breathe.
Oral decongestant drugs like phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are available as standalone medicines and in combination sinus relief products that also include pain relievers for headaches and sinus facial pain.
Decongestant nasal sprays are sometimes preferred by sinusitis and allergy sufferers because they work faster than oral medications. However, doctors and health care providers generally caution that decongestant nasal sprays be used no longer than three days.
Natural Alternatives to Conventional Medicines
Not all allergy and sinus remedies contain medications. Many people use non-medicinal, herbal and homeopathic products to manage symptoms. Saline nasal sprays are often recommended by physicians for ongoing nasal congestion relief. These saltwater sprays quickly thin mucus to temporarily make it easier for you to breathe.
Some people take herbal and natural supplements like butterbur, feverfew, propolis and stinging nettle to address allergy and sinus symptoms. These herbs have been used in some parts of the world as folk remedies for centuries. However, modern-day scientists are still evaluating their effectiveness to determine if they are beneficial for all allergy and sinusitis sufferers.
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