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Allergies Health Center

Spring Allergy Relief Can Be Hard to Find

Survey Shows Most Americans Have Limited Success From Common Treatments
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The results showed avoidance was the most popular type of treatment tried (74%), followed by over-the-counter medicines (70%) and prescription drugs (59%).

Avoiding pollen and other allergens isn't always easy though. Researchers found only one in five respondents was highly satisfied with the avoidance measures they tried, such as staying inside with the air conditioner on and doing outdoor activities on low-pollen days. But when these tactics worked, they were more effective than taking over-the-counter medications.

Researchers say staying inside is most important between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when allergen levels are highest. If the air conditioner is on, it should be set to recirculate to reduce the amount of allergens entering the system.

The average number of allergy medicines used by the participants was three; 26% of respondents said they took five or more medications to treat their allergy symptoms.

Nearly two-thirds who used prescription or over-the-counter medicines reported at least one side effect, such as drowsiness and dry mouth. Side effect frequency was similar among the two groups -- 64% of those using over-the counter medications and 65% of those taking prescription medication experienced side effects.

Those who had discussed their seasonal allergies with a doctor were much more likely to have taken a prescription allergy medication (84% vs. 48%). They were also more likely to have found a highly satisfactory prescription medication or avoidance measure to relieve their allergy symptoms.

The most popular prescription medications mentioned in the survey were steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase and Nasonex, and the pill Singulair.

The over-the-counter allergy medications taken most often by people with spring allergies were the antihistamines Benadryl Allergy, Claritin, and Zyrtec, and the decongestant Sudafed.

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