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How to Treat Seasonal Allergies

It’s that time of year again – when your nose drips like a faucet, your eyes feel irritated enough to fall out of their sockets, and you can’t sleep without waking up coughing every 5 minutes…yep, it’s springtime! Learn about hay fever, its symptoms, causes, and 7 possible treatments.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD
5-minute read
Episode #126

4. Montelukast: Leukotrienes are another class of chemicals released during allergic reactions. Therefore, a medication that blocks them may be helpful. There is now a generic available as a once a day prescription pill.

5. Ipratroprium nasal spray: This is a non-steroid spray that can be helpful for those with uncontrollable runny nose that doesn’t respond to the steroid spray. It is not the first choice for allergic rhinitis, and can have some unpleasant side effects (not for those with enlarged prostate or history of glaucoma).

6. Decongestants: If a stuffy nose is your worst symptom, an OTC decongestant will help open you up. There are two forms – a pill or nasal spray. The over-the-counter pills can be used for up to one week to de-clog your nose, but really are not meant for daily, chronic, or preventative measures. They can also elevate blood pressure, and not everyone feels well on them. The nasal spray version may work well – but can cause “tolerance” (where you need more and more to get the same effect the next time) and “withdrawal” (where your congestion gets worse than it was before you used it). That’s why decongestant nasal sprays are not recommended for more than 3 days of use.

Quick and Dirty Tip: Doctors loathe OTC nasal spray decongestants because some patients use it so much, they can’t function without them. This is actually a medical condition call Rhinitis Medicamentosa. My advice: stay away!

7. Nasal Saline: OTC nasal saline can be used several times a day to help clear away those allergens lining your nasal passages.

If none of the above is effective in controlling your allergies, which is not too common, your doctor can then send a referral to an allergist for possible allergy shots. This is a potentially expensive and very time-consuming effort, however. It consists of weekly injections for 3-5 years, and is not effective for everyone, especially if you stop it mid-way.

House Call Doctor’s Advice: Try a combination of prescription intranasal steroids, along with an OTC antihistamine (#1 and #2 above) for at least 4 weeks consistently and daily. It usually works.

Do you have allergies? What treatment works for you? Share it with us on the House Call Doctor’s Facebook and Twitter pages!

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Thanks for listening to The House Call Doctor’s quick and dirty tips for taking charge of your health. If you have any suggestions for future topics you can email me at housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com. Hope you have another snot-free week!

Sick Girl image from Shutterstock

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Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.