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How to Treat Allergies

The best treatment is to avoid the thing you’re allergic to. If it’s pollen, use an air conditioner to keep it out of your house. For dust mites, put dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows. If you’re allergic to pets, keep your furry friend out of the bedroom.

Wear wraparound sunglasses when you go out to protect your eyes from pollen. Use cool compresses on your eyes. These are just a few things you can do to treat allergies.  

You can also try these medications:

  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines are often the first medicines used to treat nasal allergies. They are available as pills, liquids, and in eye drops. You can buy many antihistamines over the counter, and others your doctor can prescribe.
  • Decongestants: Over-the-counter decongestants -- either pills, drops, or sprays -- help unblock nasal passages so you can breathe better. Don't use nasal sprays for more than three days, or they can make congestion worse.
  • Cromolyn (Nasalcrom): This nasal spray can prevent allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching, and stuffiness.
  • Steroid nasal sprays: If symptoms last and are more severe, steroid nasal sprays are one of the best treatments for allergy symptoms if used regularly. Most sprays are by prescription only. Two, Nasacort and Flonase, can be purchased over the counter.  
  • Saline nose sprays: These can clean out allergens caught in your nose.
  • Eye drops: Eye drops can relieve itching and watering.

Will Allergy Shots Help?

Allergy shots or immunotherapy gradually help your body get used to your allergy triggers. They are usually recommended for people who have symptoms more than three months each year. They can help lower your need for medication to control your symptoms.

Also, the FDA has approved three under-the-tongue tablets that can be taken at home. The prescription tablets, called Grastek, Ragwitek, and Oralair, are used for treating hay fever and work the same way as shots -- the goal is to boost a patient’s tolerance of allergy triggers.

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