Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Select An Article

Decongestants

    Font Size

    When allergies make your nose stuffed up, an antihistamine generally don't help. But a decongestant might.

    Here's how decongestants work: Allergies make the lining of your nose swell. Decongestants shrink swollen blood vessels and tissues. That relieves the congestion. But decongestants can’t help with sneezing or itching.

    Recommended Related to Allergies

    3 Questions About Fragrance Allergies

    If you find yourself developing a killer headache when riding an elevator with someone who was a bit generous dabbing on the perfume, you have company. More than 2 million Americans have fragrance allergies or sensitivities -- and the number is on the rise. Although that person's perfume may have been all too obvious a culprit, there are many hidden sources of fragrances, says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. Bassett helped WebMD sniff out the truth...

    Read the 3 Questions About Fragrance Allergies article > >

    Decongestants come in pills, liquids, nose drops, and nasal sprays. Many are available without a prescription. Common decongestants include:

    Some over-the-counter decongestants -- those with pseudoephedrine -- are found behind the pharmacy counter.

    Many medicines combine an antihistamine and decongestant, like Allegra-D, BenadrylAllergy Plus Sinus, Claritin-D, and Zyrtec-D.

    Don’t use nasal sprays longer than three days. Using them longer can actually make your nose more stopped up.

    Ask your doctor before taking decongestants if you have:

    Decongestants make some people feel jittery or have trouble sleeping. If that happens, cut back on caffeine while taking them. If that doesn't help, you may need to stop taking them. Nasal sprays are less likely to cause these problems and may be a short-term solution.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Stanley M. Fineman, MD, MBA on October 24, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz