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.
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.
These relieve a stuffy nose and congestion. You can get them as liquids, tablets, and sprays, and they're sometimes combined in a single tablet with antihistamines. Claritin-D and Allegra-D are examples of this combo.
How they work: Decongestants narrow blood vessels. This helps relieve swollen tissue in your nose.