Antihistamines help reduce the sneezing, runny nose and itchiness of allergies. They’re more useful if you use them before you’re exposed to allergens.
Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness and dry mouth. Others are less likely to cause these side effects, but some of these require a prescription. Ask your doctor which kind is best for you.
Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine help temporarily relieve the stuffy nose of allergies. Decongestants are found in many medicines and come as pills, nose sprays and nose drops. They are best used only for a short time. Nose sprays and drops shouldn’t be used for more than 3 days because you can become dependent on them. This causes you to feel even more stopped-up when you try to quit using them.
You can buy decongestants without a doctor’s prescription. However, decongestants can raise your blood pressure, so it’s a good idea to talk to your family doctor before using them, especially if you have high blood pressure.
Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that helps prevent the body’s reaction to allergens. Cromolyn sodium is more helpful if you use it before you’re exposed to allergens. This medicine may take 2 to 4 weeks to start working. It is available without a prescription.
Nasal steroid sprays reduce the reaction of the nasal tissues to inhaled allergens. This helps relieve the swelling in your nose so that you feel less stopped-up. They come in nasal sprays that your doctor may prescribe. You won’t notice their benefits for up to 2 weeks after starting them.
Your doctor may prescribe steroid pills for a short time or give you a steroid shot if your symptoms are severe or if other medicines aren’t working for you.
Eye drops. If your other medicines are not helping enough with your itchy, watery eyes, your doctor may prescribe eye drops for you.