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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 allergy shots (immunotherapy). 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 allergy shots

If medicines don't help your symptoms or if they cause bad side effects, your doctor may suggest allergy shots (immunotherapy). These are small doses of allergens that your doctor injects under your skin. They help your body "get used to" the allergen, so you may have fewer or less severe 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 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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