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.
Nearly a third of people living in the U.S. believe they have a food allergy, according to a recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association . But only 5% of children and 4% of teens and adults have true food allergies.
Why do many people think they have a food allergy when they don't?
Experts say it’s because people don’t understand what really constitutes a food allergy and they often misuse the term.
“Unfortunately, the term ‘allergy’ is sometimes used by the public...
Decongestants come in pills, liquids, nose drops, and nasal sprays. Many are available without a prescription. Common decongestants include:
Afrin, Dristan, Vicks Sinex (oxymetazoline)
Sudafed PE, Suphedrin PE (phenylephrine)
Silfedrine, Sudafed, Suphedrin (pseudoephedrine)
Some over-the-counter decongestants -- those with pseudoephedrine -- are found behind the pharmacy counter.
Many medicines combine an antihistamine and decongestant, like Allegra-D, Benadryl Allergy 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:
High blood pressure that’s not under control
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.