It's that time of year for seasonal allergies! Some of you may dread this time of year due to miserable symptoms that affect the quality of your life. Here is some helpful advice to help control your symptoms so you can be enjoy your favorite outdoor activities.
Seasonal allergy symptoms can include; sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes, itchy or sore throat and post-nasal drip. Allergies can also affect your sleep, causing mouth breathing, frequent awakenings and daytime fatigue.
It is important to identify your allergy triggers so that you can avoid them or at least limit your exposure to improve overall symptoms. This can include pollens, trees, grasses, dust, smoke, molds and insects. It may be helpful for allergy testing to identify what specific allergens you are sensitive to if you are unsure.
Treatment of seasonal allergies can include oral antihistamines, nasal sprays and allergy shots. Steroid nasal sprays are first line treatment for allergic rhinitis and have been shown to be more effective than oral antihistamines in recent studies. Steroid nasal sprays like Rhinocort, Nasonex and Flonase are helpful with runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip and sore throat. There is less side effects with nasal steroid sprays than antihistamines but are not recommended for longterm use. Oral antihistamines like Zytrec and Claritin can help symptoms of itchy throat, nose and eyes. Antihistamines can also help with sneezing and runny nose but not congestion. Other medications that can be helpful include nasal antihistamines like Astelin or Patanase nasal spray, available by prescription. This nasal antihistamines are also very effective for nasal congestion, post nasal drip and nasal congestion. Other treatments helpful with allergy symptoms include anhistamine eye drops, decongestants (Sudafed), and combination treatment of a anthistamine and decongestant (Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D).
A helpful, non-medication treatment of seasonal allergies could be incorporated into your daily routine to help limit symptoms as well. This includes nasal irrigation with saline, ie. Neti-Pot. Nasal lavage or irrigation helps with sinus drainage, nasal congestion and postnasal drip. Nasal irrigation is particularly helpful in the morning before you use any nasal antihistamine or nasal steroid spray.
There are other prescription allergy medications that are available by prescription that may also be helpful when used in combination treatment with over the counter medications discussed above. In addition, allergy shot, or allergen immunotherapy, is also helpful treatment when symptoms are severe or not controlled with standard allergy medications. This is under the guidance of an allergist and may require a referral from your provider.
A helpful site with more information may be found at www.pollen.com