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Allergies Health Center

Pollen and Allergy Relief

Here's some allergy relief.
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Need Allergy Relief When Pollen Counts Are High? continued...

In the body, histamines are chemicals that can cause swelling, sneezing, itching and a runny drippy nose or postnasal drip (mucus down the back of your throat).  Antihistamines (allergy relief medicines) are effective in treating some of the allergy symptoms caused by histamines.

Berger tells WebMD that the goal is to prevent allergy symptoms from occurring. "Taking allergy medicines (antihistamines) regularly blocks the histamine receptors -- the tissues that cause swelling. Histamine works by attaching itself to these receptors on the surface of cells. If you block the site where histamine works by pre-treating with allergy medicines, you prevent the allergic reaction and the allergy symptoms."

To make his point, Berger uses an analogy: "What if someone takes your seat? Then you can no longer take that seat. It's now unavailable."

The same concept works with allergy medicine, says Berger. "If you take the allergy medicine, it blocks the site so histamine cannot be released. If you take allergy medicines regularly, you continue to block the site and control allergy symptoms."

Berger tells WebMD that taking antihistamines will not quickly stop today's stuffy nose or sneezing from allergies. Nor will these allergy medicines reverse existing allergy symptoms. Antihistamines prevent future allergy symptoms, says Berger.  

Berger also recommends trying nasal corticosteroids, the first-line allergy relief medicines, two weeks before pollen season begins to keep symptoms at bay.

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the best allergy medications work by inhibiting the immune system's release of chemicals (IgE) that can trigger allergic reactions. As Berger suggests, if allergy medicines are taken before you are exposed to pollen, they can help to stabilize your immune system before you experience the miserable allergy symptoms.

Recommended treatment for pollen allergies includes: over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines such as Allegra, Benadryl, or Clarinex; decongestants like Sudafed; nasal steroids like Beconase, Flonase, or Veramyst; and drugs that combine antihistamines and decongestants like Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D. Allergy shots or immunotherapy are also a viable option for allergy relief for pollen allergies.

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