Your nose plays an important role in your body. In addition to providing you with the ability to smell and subsequently taste, your nose serves as a natural filtration system for the air you breathe. It helps to moisten the air you breathe in and filter out irritants so your sensitive lung tissue is not exposed to harsh, dry air. When your immune system is sensitive to the irritants that enter your nose such as pollen and dust, you may experience an overload of nasal symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing. These symptoms are often accompanied by watery eyes, itchiness, and overall cranial discomfort in the all-too-familiar condition known by the names of allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or seasonal allergies. If you regularly suffer from allergies – seasonally or all year long – there are a few measures you can take to find relief and breathe easier.
Evading allergy triggers
If you are not exposed to allergy triggers, you will not experience symptoms. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to avoid triggers altogether, but you can limit exposure by first learning what exactly you are allergic to. After an allergy test, you can plan your routine to work around peak pollen counts and particularly irritating areas.
There are two types of nasal sprays that may help relieve your symptoms. Nasal steroid sprays are highly effective prescription sprays that take a few days to kick in, but provide incredible relief with continued use. Antihistamine nasal sprays can substitute oral antihistamines, and they may be a bit faster-acting, since they tackle allergies at the source of symptoms.
For most people, oral antihistamines are the go-to solution for seasonal allergies. These may include both 24-hour medications and nighttime medications that cause drowsiness like Benadryl. Many prescription-strength 24-hour antihistamines like Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec are available over-the-counter, though other strictly prescription options may be more effective for some individuals.
Immunotherapy using allergy shots is often a last resort for allergy relief in patients who do not respond to medication. Before immunotherapy can take place, detailed allergy testing is needed to identify exactly what substances are causing a response. Immunotherapy requires ongoing shots with maintenance every 2-6 weeks, so it is often not the first choice of patients or doctors.
Decongestants will provide relief of nasal congestion, but they will not hinder the allergic response causing your discomfort. Therefore, these drugs are often used in conjunction with antihistamines rather than as a primary treatment. Long-term use of decongestants may have adverse side effects for your health, so these products—whether taken orally or through a nasal spray—should be used only for a few days at once.
MeMD can help you tackle your allergy symptoms with convenient and secure medical consultations online. In just a few minutes, you can find the best allergy plan for your needs so you can get back to enjoying the beauty of spring, free from annoying allergy symptoms.