Using Allergy Medications Wisely

By

Barbara Floria

This content is selected and managed by the Healthgrades editorial staff and is brought to you by an advertising sponsor.
x

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the HealthGrades advertising policy.

ADVERTISEMENT
Women looking at over the counter medicine

Keep these guidelines in mind when looking for allergy relief:

Be aware of side effects

Some over-the-counter allergy medications will make you drowsy. They may contain antihistamines, decongestants, or both. Be careful not to take them when you will be driving or working with machinery. Newer antihistamines -- loratadine (Alavert, Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra) -- are available over-the-counter and are less likely to cause you to be sleepy.

Read carefully

Make sure you follow the package instructions. Don't take more or more often than directed. Make sure you know whether or not you can take the medication with your other medications or with medical conditions you may have.

Nasal sprays

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays or drops may make you feel better for a while, but they have a "rebound effect" that can actually  increase congestion or stuffiness in your nose. make sure you:

  • Watch for side effects such as nosebleeds, rapid heartbeat, and agitation.

  • Use them for only a few days at a time, usually three days of continued use. It's safe to use them again after giving your nose a few days' rest.

  • Saline sprays or drops can help moisten nasal secretions and help clear the nose and sinuses. They are safe to use continuously.

  • Nasal corticosteroid sprays are very effective for treating nasal allergies. They may take a few days until you notice an improvement in symptoms.

  • Nasal antihistamine sprays are also effective and available by prescription. They may also cause sleepiness.


Medical Reviewers: Beth Holloway, RN, M.Ed.; MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician Last Review Date: May 9, 2014

© 2000-2015 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Vitality on Demand.
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians. Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options (http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/drugs-procedures-devices/over-the-counter/antihistamines-und...
  3. American Academy of Family Physicians. Antihistamines: Getting the Most for Your oTC Medicine (http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/drugs-procedures-devices/over-the-counter/getting-the-most-f...
  4. American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Antihistamines, Decongestants, and Cold Remedies (http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/coldRemedies.cfm)
  5. American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Fact Sheet: 20 Questions About Your Sinuses (http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/sinuses.cfm)

You Might Also Like

12 Tips for Avoiding Pollen

Both grass and weed pollens can trigger allergy symptoms year-round. Try these tips to ease your runny nose and watery eyes.

E-mail this page to your friends.

Connect With Us
Our User Agreement and Privacy Policy Have Changed

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and User Agreement.

© Copyright 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Patent US Nos. 7,752,060 and 8,719,052. All Rights Reserved. 
Third Party materials included herein protected under copyright law.

Use of this website and any information contained herein is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE:

Allergies on Vacation

NEXT ARTICLE:

Is It an Allergy or a Cold?

Up Next

Is It an Allergy or a Cold?