Do seasonal allergies bring you down? Airborne pollens like tree pollen in spring, grass pollen in summer, and ragweed in the fall cause that discomfort, also known as hay fever. They can bring on symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.
So, which meds might work best for you?
First, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to make sure they're caused by allergies. Then talk over your treatment options.
Be sure to read and follow labels carefully if you opt to take over-the-counter medications, and follow the directions on how to take it. Remember that you can also get most OTC medications as generic and store brands.
Nasal Steroid Sprays
Nasal steroid sprays are often the first medicine recommended for allergies. They're available over the counter and by prescription.
Three sprays are available over the counter:
They can relieve nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.
How they work: They lower inflammation.
Prescription examples include:
- Budesonide (Rhinocort)
- Ciclesonide (Omnaris)
- Fluticasone furoate ( Veramyst)
- Fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
- Flunisolide ( Nasarel)
- Triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort AQ)
Possible side effects are nosebleeds and a sore nose.
You can get many types, both over the counter and by prescription. They are sometimes combined with other medications like decongestants.
Antihistamines come in many forms, such as:
- Eye drops
- Nose sprays
Over-the-counter types you take by mouth include:
- Brompheniramine ( Dimetapp Allergy)
- Cetirizine ( Zyrtec)
- Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton Allergy)
- Diphenhydramine ( Benadryl Allergy)
- Fexofenadine ( Allegra)
- Loratadine ( Alavert, Claritin)
Some antihistamines can make you drowsy. If you take them, avoid alcohol and be careful when driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you're not alert.
Cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine are the only non-drowsy over-the-counter antihistamines.
Prescription antihistamines include:
- Azelastine ( Astelin, Astepro)
- Desloratadine ( Clarinex)
- Levocetirizine ( Xyzal)
- Olopatadine ( Patanase)
Olopatadine is an eyedrop option to relieve eye symptoms. You can also get azelastine in eyedrop form.