South Oaks Pharmacy
3305 South Campbell Suite D
Springfield, MO 65807
Hours: 9-6 Mon. thru Fri.
9-1 on Sat. Closed Sun.
which allergy medication is right for you?
Allergic reactions stem from a variety of causes, including environmental triggers, insect bites and food. Avoiding the trigger isn’t always an option, so over-the-counter allergy medications offer a form of relief. Consult with your health-care provider if new allergy symptoms arise. Allergy testing and prescription medication might be options to consider.
Over-the-counter allergy medications don’t cure your allergies, but they do calm the symptoms you experience. The medication counteracts the effects of the allergens to make you more comfortable. Depending on the type of medication you choose, relief might include a reduction in swelling, redness, watering eyes, congestion and mucus. The relief is only temporary if you remain exposed to the allergen. For example, if you are allergic to pollen, your symptoms will return once the allergy medicine wears off, because you are still exposed to the pollen that caused the reaction.
Antihistamines, decongestants and combination drugs are the most common options for treating allergy symptoms. Histamine is released into your body when you come into contact with an allergen, causing symptoms like swelling, redness and itching. Antihistamine medications work against the histamine to prevent or reduce the symptoms. Decongestants reduce swelling in your nasal tissue and blood vessels that often accompany allergies. Combination drugs include both antihistamines and a decongestant to help with a broad range of allergy symptoms. Most allergy medications come in liquid and pills. Nasal sprays and eye drops are also available.
Most side effects of over-the-counter allergy medications are minor, but the potential for serious problems does exist. Contact your doctor if you experience strange or concerning side effects. Drowsiness is common with antihistamines. Nasal-spray antihistamines can also cause nosebleeds, nasal discomfort, nausea, sneezing and sore throat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Decongestants have more potential side effects, including faster heartbeat, sleeping difficulties, headache, changes in blood pressure, dizziness and irritability.
Other Relief Options
Medication is only one option for over-the-counter allergy relief. Saline solutions available in nasal-spray form offer an unmedicated option. The spray helps break up mucus and congestion caused by allergies. It also moisturizes your nasal passages to prevent dryness. Unmedicated eye drops are another option if your list of symptoms includes eye itching or redness.
If you have existing medical problems or are taking another medication, consult with your physician before taking an over-the-counter allergy medication. Drug interactions could cause a potentially serious reaction. Your physician has the best knowledge of your specific medical history to give you the safest option. Seek medical attention immediately if an allergic reaction causes shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Help Clean your allergies away -
The most common indoor allergens are pet dander, pollen, mold, dust mites and cockroaches. If you have an allergy sufferer in your family, it’s vital to clean allergens from your home.
Vacuum once or twice a week using a high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner to remove dust, pet dander and other allergens from your floors and furniture.
Encase your mattress, box springs and pillows with dust mite–proof covers, and wash all bedding and stuffed toys once a week in water that is at least 130°F.
Close all windows to prevent entry of both pollen and humid air, which encourages dust-mite growth.
Keep moisture to a minimum in the kitchen and bath, where mold is most likely to grow. Make sure the sinks, tubs and showers are wiped dry with disposal paper towels or an old terrycloth towel after each use. If using an old towel, wash it often.
Control cockroaches with bait traps or boron instead of spraying chemical agents that can further aggravate allergies.
Cover air-duct vents with allergen covers or cheesecloth to prevent allergens from being distributed throughout the home.