There is no cure for allergies but medications are available to ease the symptoms and increase your body’s ability to better tolerate allergens. Common treatments for allergies treat the symptoms commonly associated with allergies and can be over-the-counter of doctor prescribed. Medications routinely used for allergy relief are antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroids, or a combination of many drugs.
Antihistamines work to block the histamine receptors in the blood and to relieve the related symptoms. Histamines are released by the immune system once a person comes in contact with an allergen. The symptoms that result from histamine release are redness, swelling, and itching, orhives. Most antihistamines such as Allegra ®, Zyrtec, and Benadryl may be purchased over the counter. Prescription antihistamines include Xyzal ®, Astelin ® nasal spray, and Livostin ® eye drops. Drowsiness and sleepiness are side effects associated with antihistamines and thus precautions should be taken if driving or operating heavy machinery while using these medications.
Decongestants often sold over-the-counter can be used for the nose or eyes can be used for short periods of time to relieve the allergy related symptoms. Prolonged use of decongestants may actually make theconditionworse. Commondecongestants are Sudafed ®. Afrin ®nasalsprays, Allegra-D ®, orVisine ® eye drops. Side effects of decongestants include a raise in blood pressure, insomnia, and disturbances of urinary flow. The use of decongestants is not recommended for those with glaucoma or high blood pressure.
Corticosteroids are steroid based drugs that alleviate inflammation known to cause nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose symptoms associated with allergies. Corticosteroids are effective at treating allergies of all types of allergens but require daily doses to work properly. Corticosteroids can be delivered in pill-form, inhalers, nasal spats, eye drops, or as topicalcreams. Examples ofcorticosteroidsfrequently usedforallergies are Flonase ®,Nasonex ®, Flovent ®, Advair ®,and Prednisone ®, Fildena ®. The potential for side effects with corticosteroids are increased if administered over longer periods of time and include weight gain, fluid retention, high blood pressure, growth suppression, diabetes, cataracts, and osteoporosis.
Allergies that cannot be controlled with traditional antihistamines, decongestants, or corticosteroids may warrant immunotherapy treatments commonly called allergy shots. Allergy shots are composed of a small amount of the allergen in which you are allergic to. This small amount of allergen allow your immune system to build antibodies against the allergen The next time you are introduced to the allergen the immune system will have antibodies to lessen the hypersensitivity reaction. Allergy shots will result in the allergic reaction being less severe over time.