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Avoid, Avoid, Avoid

You need to avoid whatever you’re allergic to. If it’s pollen, use an air conditioner to keep it out of your house, and keep the windows shut. Wear wraparound sunglasses when you go out to protect your eyes from pollen. Use cool compresses on your eyes.

For dust mites, put dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows. If you’re allergic to pet dander, keep your furry friend out of the bedroom.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Your doctor can give you more information about your next steps. 

You can also try these medications:

  • Steroid nasal sprays are one of the best treatments for allergy symptoms if used regularly. Most sprays are by prescription only. Two, triamcinolone (Nasacort) and fluticasone (Flonase), can be purchased over the counter.
  • Antihistamines are available as pills, liquids, and eyedrops. 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 3 days, or they can make congestion worse.
  • Cromolyn ( Nasalcrom ): This nasal spray can prevent allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching, and stuffiness.
  • Saline nose sprays: These can clean out allergens caught in your nose.
  • Eyedrops: Eyedrops 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 for more than 3 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, Oralair, and Ragwitek, treat hay fever and work the same way as shots -- the goal is to boost your tolerance of allergy triggers.

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