Treatment principles start with avoidance of the allergen if possible. This is the safest and best practice but if this isn’t possible, there are many remedies available.
Over the Counter Options
- Natural Products: may be tried as long as they are safe but unfortunately lack large studies to specify which are best. Nasal rinsing with saline or Neti-Pot solutions is a safe practice with varying results.
- Nasal Steroids: these come in many brands such as Flonase, Rinocort, or Nasacort. They have very few side effects and the medicine goes right to the site of your allergies with very little being absorbed into your system.
- Oral Antihistamines: examples include Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec. These enter your system to calm down allergies and can sometimes cause drowsiness. We typically reserve Benadryl for nighttime because it may have more side effects.
- Red Eye Drops: many over the counter drops can reduce eye redness and are very safe.
Once you have tried any combination of over the counter treatments for a few weeks, then consider seeing your family medicine provider if you are not seeing good results. They will be able to walk you through your treatment plan and possibly add on a prescription medicine called Singulair that can bring your allergies under control. There are also antihistamine nasal sprays, eye drops, and other options available.
Referral to Specialists
Occasionally allergies are so severe that over the counter medications and prescriptions aren’t enough for relief. In this case, your family medicine provider may refer you on to an allergy specialist for immunotherapy or “allergy shots”. This is when they will test you for which allergens cause your allergies and then give you injections to help your immune system get used to the allergen.
If you have any questions, feel free to come visit with one of our family medicine providers for more guidance!