It has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to mention a few tips to control your allergy symptoms during this peak pollen season. I have seen a number of patients over the past few weeks who are suffering with runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes. What can be done to treat and what can be done to prevent these symptoms?
The easiest and most direct way to treating your allergic symptoms is using a second generation, oral anti-histamine such as Zyrtec (generic: cetirizine), Xyzal (levocetirizine), or Allegra (fexofenadine). These medications work quickly, are over-the-counter, and should not make you drowsy. Benadryl is an old drug that has too many side effects and Claritin (loratadine) may not be strong enough.
However, the drug of choice is a nasal steroid. Feel free to choose from Flonase, Nasacort, Nasonex, Rhinocort, or the generics from any of these. Use this daily or even twice daily, according to the listed instructions. These are over-the-counter, as well. They do not work instantly, but you should see a benefit after a few days.
Allergy eye drops are also available over the counter: The generic ketotifen is a good start, although the prescription strength olopatadine may be warranted.
There are certainly more avenues through which to treat your allergies. Skin testing in the office would be helpful to confirm your allergies and at your visit we can discuss the possibility of allergy injections, the natural approach to preventing and actually curing your seasonal allergies.
For more patient information on allergy injections and how they work, visit the AAAAI website.