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Allergies Health Center

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Allergic Rhinitis - Treatment Overview

The main treatments for allergic rhinitis are avoiding allergens, managing symptoms with medicine and other home treatment, and, in some cases, getting immunotherapy (such as allergy shots). How often you need treatment depends on how often you have symptoms.

Avoid allergens

It is important to avoid allergens that are causing your symptoms. By doing this, you may be able to reduce your allergy symptoms and manage them without medicine or with fewer medicines.

You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust, animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.

For more information on how to avoid and control allergens, see Home Treatment.

Manage symptoms

Taking medicines and doing other home treatments can help you manage your symptoms. For example, over-the-counter allergy medicines (such as antihistamines or decongestants) may help relieve some of your symptoms. They may come in the form of a pill, liquid, eyedrops, or nasal spray. Or your doctor may prescribe stronger types of these medicines. You can do other things at home to help your symptoms, such as cleaning your nasal passages.

To learn more about managing your symptoms, see Medications and Home Treatment.

Think about immunotherapy

If medicines don't help your symptoms or if they cause bad side effects, your doctor may suggest immunotherapy. For this treatment, you get shots or use pills that have a small amount of certain allergens in them. Your body "gets used to" the allergen, so you react less to it over time. This kind of treatment may help prevent or reduce some allergy symptoms.

Allergies: Should I Take Allergy Shots?

Know when surgery is or isn't needed

Sometimes people need surgery to fix a problem that makes treating allergies harder. You and your doctor should not consider surgery unless other treatments have failed.

To learn when surgery may be needed, see Surgery.

Treatment for children

Treatment for children who have allergic rhinitis is much the same as for adults who have allergies. Treating children with medicine may be more difficult because of the possible side effects. Some medicines also may not be approved to treat children. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label slideshow.gif.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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