- Health and topice

Choosing your medication for seasonal allergies

Is the arrival of spring or summer bothering you as you suffer from seasonal allergies? Find out how to treat your symptoms to minimize their impact in your life.

ANTIHISTAMINES: THE BASIS OF TREATMENT

People who have to suffer, year after year, the many disadvantages of seasonal allergies are often in the “search for solutions” mode. Nowadays, so many drugs exist on the market that it is always surprising to see that still many people are not treated adequately. Yet, when the season begins, one can see on television and on the Internet abound ads touting the merits of drugs against allergy symptoms. There is a succession of flowing nostrils, stinging eyes, red faces and violent sneezing. If you have the impression of recognizing in these images a caricature of yourself during the period of seasonal allergies, the following may be of interest to you.

The following symptoms are characteristic of seasonal allergies:

  • sneezing;
  • itching (eyes, palate, nose);
  • watery eyes;
  • congested or runny nose.

These can all be treated with antihistamines, which are the first choice of treatment. Antihistamines are distinguished into two generations: the first and the second. The following table shows which group includes the best-known over-the-counter products.

generation of antihistamines.

The advantage of 2nd generation antihistamines is that they cause less drowsiness and dryness of the mouth. So, as allergy symptoms are also present during the day, the medication can be taken without altering daily activities. In addition, they are taken only once or twice a day, which is a second asset. These are the reasons why they are used more today than first-generation antihistamines. The dose should be adjusted in children, but these drugs are safe for toddlers.

WHEN ANTIHISTAMINES ARE NOT ENOUGH …

Nasal congestion can be very troublesome. It is often part of the seasonal allergies chart. Decongestants to spray in the nose are a good option since their local action limits the occurrence of side effects. However, they can not be used more than three to five days in a row, at the risk of causing a chronic congestion problem. When congestion persists, decongestants taken by mouth, such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, may be appropriate. However, do not take these medications near bedtime, as they may prevent you from sleeping. They can also cause other side effects, and most importantly, not suitable for everyone, such as children.

One of the interesting options for reducing symptoms, and especially congestion and runny nose, is the use of saline solutions. Cleansing the nasal passages with them also reduces the presence of pollens causing the symptoms. Very safe, this measure can be applied several times a day and benefit many individuals, large and small.

If nasal congestion is more severe, corticosteroids nasal spray may also be prescribed by the doctor.

In addition, allergies can cause significant eye symptoms such as itching, tearing, and widespread redness of the whites of the eye. When oral antihistamines are insufficient to relieve these symptoms, antihistamines in the form of drops to put in the eyes are also available. As these drops are behind the counter, you should ask the laboratory at the pharmacy to get them. In case of severe symptoms, other agents are available by prescription.  

TIPS FOR OPTIMAL USE OF MEDICINES

For seasonal allergy medications to be as safe and effective as possible, they should be taken the right way. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Start taking your oral antihistamines a few days before the onset of the allergy period to help relieve your symptoms faster.
  • Make sure that the medication you are taking does not make you sleepy before driving your car, operating machinery, or doing any other activity that requires mental alertness.
  • Never take more medicine than recommended.
  • If you have symptoms especially at night, use first-generation antihistamines. They will help you sleep better.
  • Avoid using a decongestant nasal spray for more than three to five days.
  • Discard the ophthalmic drops 30 days after opening the bottle.

You should not fear the coming of the allergy season so much. Treating the symptoms with the right medicines will allow you to enjoy the pleasures of spring and summer. Although the majority of these products are available over the counter, some are not without risk if you have other health problems. Remember that the drug expert is your pharmacist!

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