Making Sense of Allergy Medications

freedom from spring allergiesSpring is definitely in the air. While you may be enjoying the sunshine and the blooming flowers, you might also be dealing with intensified allergy symptoms. Many Americans turn to over the counter medications to treat common allergy symptoms. As you probably know from a trip to the drugstore, you can choose from dozens of over-the-counter medications that are designed to treat allergies. How do you know which one is right for you? Consider the following factors when determining how to treat your allergy symptoms:

  • Allergy type – If you experience allergy symptoms year-round, you have perennial allergies. If you only notice allergy symptoms during the spring or fall, you have seasonal allergies. Medications containing cetirizine (such as Zyrtec) are effective at treating both perennial and seasonal allergies. If you only have seasonal allergies, however, choose medications containing fexofenadine (Allegra) or loratadine (Claritin).
  • Consider side effects – Some allergy medications are known to cause drowsiness and should be avoided if you’ll be driving or operating machinery. These medications include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and brompheniramine (Dimetapp).
  • Decongestants – Pick an antihistamine with a decongestant if you have an excess of nasal congestion. Many over-the-counter antihistamines have a combination version that contains the decongestant, pseudoephedrine. These products are usually kept behind the counter in the pharmacy. To purchase, you must present your ID to pharmacy staff and be at least 18 years old

As convenient as over the counter medications can be, it is important to consult with your doctor regarding any possible contraindications, such as prescribed medications or existing conditions. If you need guidance, give our office a call. When allergies get you down, get the spring back in your step by making an informed choice in medication.  Happy Spring!

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