Sneeze Patrol: How to Stifle Seasonal Allergies
Find Your Best RemedySymptom: Itchy Eyes
Best Remedies: Antihistamine eyedrops and pills block histamine, one of the substances that causes itchy, watery eyes, according to Pamela Georgeson, MD, an allergist at the Kenwood Allergy and Asthma Center in Chesterfield Township, Michigan. Many antihistamines cause drowsiness, but over-the-counter Claritin is considered the least likely to do so. If OTC remedies don't work for you, make an appointment with your doctor, who can make further treatment recommendations.Symptom: Stuffy Nose
Best Remedies: Intranasal cortico-steroids, a.k.a. nasal spray, and oral decongestants work best. Prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays such as Nasonex and Flonase reduce inflammation, swelling, and congestion in the lining of the airways. They also prevent the release of inflammatory chemicals that bring on a stuffy nose, explains Dr. Georgeson. Some over-the-counter nonsteroidal sprays, including NasalCrom, also block these chemicals and reduce symptoms.
Decongestants shrink the blood vessels, which decreases the amount of fluid that leaks out. They come in liquid and tablet form (for example, Sudafed) or as a nasal spray, and are available over the counter as well as by prescription. Don't use an OTC decongestant nasal spray, such as Afrin, for more than three days in a row or your congestion may get much worse, which could lead you to become dependent on the medication.Symptom: Runny Nose
Best Remedies: Oral antihistamines head off histamine, one of the culprits in this case.Symptom: Wheezing and Coughing Caused by Allergic Asthma
Best Remedies: Inhaled bronchodilators such as albuterol open up the bronchial tubes (air passages) of the lungs and work within minutes. If you experience these symptoms frequently, try a daily treatment that prevents them before they strike, such as inhaled corticosteroids, which stop cells from releasing substances that trigger your breathing problems, according to Dr. Georgeson.
Leukotriene antagonists (such as Singulair) are prescription medications that can reduce symptoms by blocking the action of leukotrienes -- a substance that can cause airway inflammation.
Allergy shots can decrease your sensitivity to allergens and relieve symptoms, even after treatment ends. This involves a consultation with an allergist, who will expose you to small amounts of different allergens to identify which one'll receive injections containing increasing amounts of whatever you're allergic to.
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