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Pollen 'Explosion' Has U.S. Sneezing

FAQ on Pollen and Allergy: Some Surprising Answers

What is the best treatment for pollen allergy? continued...

Different allergy drugs work best for different people. But in a 2010 analysis of clinical trials by Cleveland Clinic researchers, intranasal corticosteroid drugs worked nearly twice as well as oral and nasal antihistamines, which seemed to have about the same effect.

Dvorin notes that a person needs to take intranasal corticosteroids for three to seven days "before they really work."

He advises people who know they have spring allergies to see an allergist in the off season. Skin testing can reveal which types of pollen a person is allergic to -- allowing that person to begin treatment before those plants start to release pollen in the spring.

There's also a "priming effect," in which people become more and more sensitive to the pollen they're allergic to as the season goes on.

"Starting corticosteroid treatment early actually prevents the priming effect," Dvorin says. "If you treat early enough you reduce symptoms. Corticosteroids are the only products that prevent the peak of symptoms."

Allergy sufferers who get too little relief from allergy drugs may wish to consult an allergist about getting allergy shots, which can desensitize a person to the pollens to which they're allergic.

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