Medical Allergy Remedies

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Your Doctor May Have the Answers for Your Springtime Allergies

As the long, cold winter begins to thaw, most people look forward to spring. They get outside. They open windows. They immerse themselves in nature.

But not all of us.

If you’re like many people who suffer from allergies, spring brings bouts of sneezing, coughing, runny noses, and watery eyes. It’s almost enough to make you wish for the cold weather to return.

You may have tried to control your symptoms with over-the-counter medications. If those haven’t worked, it’s time you visited your primary care physician or urgent care center. Your doctor may have the just the right prescription to help you enjoy spring again.

Let your doctor know your symptoms

You and your doctor can work together to choose the most effective allergy medications. Make sure you tell your doctor if you’re taking allergy medications or if you’re:

  • Pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Diagnosed with a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Taking any other medications, including herbal supplements.
  • Already taking an allergy medication that isn't working. Bring the medication with you in its original bottle or package when you see your doctor.

Keep track of what symptoms you experience, when you use your medications, and how much you use. This will help your doctor figure out what works best. You may need to try a few different medications to determine which ones are most effective and have the fewest side effects.1

Effective allergy medications only a doctor can prescribe

Your doctor has several effective ways to help control your allergy symptoms that you cannot get over the counter. Below is a list of some prescriptions used to treat allergies. You should ask your primary care physician or urgent care center about these during your visit.

Immunotherapy shots

For the last 70 years, treatment for allergies has been shots, also known as allergy immunotherapy. By receiving small quantities of allergens over time, physicians have been able to reduce and potentially stop a person’s allergies.2 Immunotherapy shots are usually given one or two times a week for three to six months. This is followed by a series of less frequent maintenance shots that may continue for three to five years. Side effects may include irritation at the injection site and allergy symptoms such as sneezing, congestion or hives.1

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)

With this type of immunotherapy, you receive an allergen-based tablet under your tongue. This daily treatment has been shown to reduce runny nose, congestion, eye irritation, and other symptoms associated with hay fever. SLIT tablets contain extracts from different types of grass pollen.1

Immunotherapy nasal sprays

Antihistamine nasal sprays help relieve sneezing, itchy or runny nose, sinus congestion, and postnasal drip. Side effects of antihistamine nasal sprays may include a bitter taste, drowsiness, or fatigue.1 Prescription antihistamine nasal sprays include:

  • Azelastine (Astelin®, Astepro®)
  • Olopatadine (Patanase®)

Corticosteroid nasal sprays

Corticosteroid sprays prevent and relieve stuffiness, sneezing, and runny nose. Side effects can include an unpleasant smell or taste, nasal irritation, and nosebleeds.1 Examples include:

  • Budesonide (Rhinocort® Aqua)
  • Fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
  • Fluticasone propionate (Flonase®)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex®)
  • Triamcinolone (Nasacort® Allergy 24 Hour)

Corticosteroid inhalers

Inhaled corticosteroids are often used every day as part of treatment for asthma caused by reactions to allergens. Side effects are generally minor and can include mouth and throat irritation and oral yeast infections. Some inhalers combine corticosteroids with other asthma medications.1 Prescription inhalers include:

  • Beclomethasone (Qvar®)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler®)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco®)
  • Fluticasone (Advair® Diskus, Flovent® Diskus, others)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex® Twisthaler)

Corticosteroid eyedrops

Corticosteroid eyedrops are used to relieve persistent itchy, red, or watery eyes when other medications aren't effective. A physician specializing in eye disorders (ophthalmologist) usually monitors the use of these drops because of the risk of vision impairment, cataracts, glaucoma, and infection.1 Examples include:

  • Fluorometholone (Flarex®, FML®)
  • Loteprednol (Alrex®, Lotemax™)
  • Prednisolone (Omnipred®, Pred Forte®, others)
  • Rimexolone (Vexol®)

Corticosteroid pills and liquids

Oral corticosteroids are used to treat severe symptoms caused by all types of allergic reactions. Long-term use can cause cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, stomach ulcers, increased blood sugar (glucose), and delayed growth in children. Oral corticosteroids can also make high blood pressure worse.1 Prescription oral corticosteroids include:

  • Prednisolone (Flo-Pred™, Prelone®, others)
  • Prednisone (Prednisone Intensol™, Rayos®)

Visit your doctor soon

Spring has just begun. So get a jump on controlling your springtime allergy symptoms. Make an appointment to talk to your primary care physician or urgent care center. He or she may have the perfect prescription to help you get outdoors this spring.

Sources:

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