Treatment Options for Seasonal Allergy Relief
Overview of Treatment Options
Seasonal allergies are also known as pollen allergies because people are mostly affected by them. If you react to pollen, you may experience the symptoms attached to hay fever. When these are hard to manage, a doctor may advise treatment. Whether the doctor advises a certain type of treatment or not depends largely on the severity of symptoms and your health. While there are many over the counter treatments around, you should always talk to your doctor before you buy any. They will be able to warn you of any side effects and answer any questions you may have.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind that most seasonal allergies are cured by similar treatments. This is because the effects of allergies tend to be the same, which looks like a runny nose, fever, coughing, and sneezing, to name a few. Besides pollen, treatments can also help other allergies like ones from dust, pet, or food.
The most common treatment options are:
Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are the most common treatment that a doctor may suggest. Especially if you have allergic rhinitis (hay fever). These types of sprays can help with congestion, sneezing, itchy, and runny nose. Additionally, doctors may suggest nasal steroids for harsher allergic reactions.
Certain corticosteroid sprays need a prescription, but others don’t.
- Budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy)
- Fluticasone (Flonase)
- Triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR)
Doctors recommend the use of this medicine before pollen season. This can help to minimize effects. If you wait until the symptoms begin, it could take a few weeks before they start to get better. Oral steroids (mouth) are also used to fight effects.
When the body is triggered by outside things, it makes histamines and other chemicals that can cause the body to have symptoms. To fight this, Antihistamines are put in some medicines to help relieve certain symptoms. This helps the body by blocking histamines from entering the bloodstream in the first place.
Also, medicine with an antihistamine is available in a few forms. Such as pills, capsules, liquid, nasal sprays, or eye drops. It’s important to note, there are some you can’t get without a doctor’s prescription, but there are others that you can buy without one.
- Azelastine – Eyedrops (Optivar)
- Azelastine – Nasal sprays (Astelin, Astepro)
- Carbinoxamine (Palgic)
- Desloratadine (Clarinex)
- Emedastine – Eyedrops (Emadine)
- Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)
- Levocabastine – Eyedrops (Livostin)
- Levocetirizine oral (Xyzal)
- Brompheniramine (Dimetane)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- Clemastine (Tavist)
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)
Moreover, eyedrops are good to treat itchy and watery eyes. The others listed are a mix of decongestants and an antihistamine to help with congestion (you also drink them).
Used to help congestion or blockage in your nose, decongestants work by shrinking tissues and blood vessels that swell during allergic reactions. While these alleviate the effects of congestion, they can’t help with sneezing or itching. Also, medications come as pills, tablets, syrup, or nasal spray.
- Afrin, Dristan, Vicks, Sinex (oxymetazoline)
- Sudafed PE, Suphedrin PE (phenylephrine)
- Silfedrine, Sudafed, Suphedrin (pseudoephedrine)
- Benadryl Allergy Plus Sinus
Some people feel stressed or have problems sleeping while using decongestions. If this happens, make an assessment of what you’re doing. Did you drink a lot of coffee that day? Try drinking less or no coffee before you take this. Additionally, if these treatments don’t work, you can try nasal sprays. These can be a short-term option and are less likely to cause complications.
Immunotherapy and Allergy Shots
Allergy shots are also called immunotherapy by doctors. This is because the shots work by reinforcing your immune system so it’s less likely to react to allergens. Also, this is a long-term plan where your doctor will give you the shot gradually. This can be three to five years depending on the person and severity of their reactions. During this phase, your doctor will watch your body for any reactions to pollen or other allergens. If you start to build resistance, your doctor will decide if you can stop taking the shots.
Tablets are also a form of medicine available. The tablets work when they’re placed under the tongue. The kinds made to help with allergies include:
Tablets work like shots and help defend your immune system against any triggers. When you use tablets for the first time, do it under your doctor’s watch. This is because the medicine can cause bad effects like itching, burning in lips or mouth, or stomach problems. Don’t worry, effects can go away in as little as a few days or even hours.
Before trying any medications, you can start with natural remedies. Some have been used for decades and have proven effective for all levels of allergy symptoms. These are called:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Essential oils
- Herbal teas
Patients have used natural fixes many times, and each one comes with its own benefits for relieving and treating allergic symptoms. Even if you’re also using the medical treatment your doctor advised, you can still also use natural remedies to help with symptoms. In order to reduce these reactions, you must help build the immune system. Try to gradually work on it to improve strength. This will help it be less reactive to allergens. Working on the body can include a change in diet and/ or exercise. Talk more about what you should do with your doctor. They’ll advise you if this is a good idea or not, and suggest how far to push yourself.
While most treatments help with symptoms, some may cause effects in the body if used too long. The best way is to reduce the chance of this is, is by trying to stop reactions from happening in the first place. Prevention can look like staying indoors as much as you can during pollen season and wearing a dust mask among other things. This will help lower the use of medicine as well.
Written by: Madiha Ather Hashmi (November 08, 2020)
- Peter J. Delves, PhD (2020). “Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever; Allergic Rhinitis)”. MSD Manuals.
- ACAII (2014). “Allergy Immunotherapy”. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
- Baylor College of Medicine (2019). “The best way to treat seasonal allergies”. Medical Xpress.
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Last Updated on January 19, 2021