White Paper – Allergy Relief

All About Allergies

An allergic reaction is caused by your immune system reacting to a foreign substance that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.

Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Allergy symptoms are caused by your immune system’s response to a particular type of allergen.

Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, affect around 20% of adults, and 40% of children.

Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, and congestion.

The biggest allergy trigger is pollen, tiny grains released into the air by plants.

Cat and dog dander allergies are also common, and can be treated just like seasonal allergies.

A Variety of Options to Treat Your Symptoms

  • Antihistamines are one of the most common and effective treatments for allergy symptoms. They block your immune system from fully reacting to the allergen.
    • Non-drowsy antihistamines include Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec.
    • Benadryl is a strong antihistamine that also causes drowsiness.
  • If you are having troubles with nasal or sinus congestion, there are several Decongestant products that are available.
    • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is available behind the pharmacy counter. It shrinks blood vessels that are responsible for congestion.
  • Combination Products that include Sudafed and antihistamines are available behind the counter. The decongestant will clear up your sinuses, while the antihistamine takes care of your other symptoms.
  • Decongestant Sprays such as Afrin or Phenylephrine act directly on swollen blood vessels in the nose. However, these should only be used for 3-5 days, or a common side effect called reboundcongestion can occur.
  • Corticosteroids such as Nasacort and Flonase are now available over the counter. These sprays are very effective at preventing allergy symptoms. But they can take up to a week to start working fully.
  • Nasal wetting agents such as saline sprays or Neti pots can irrigate the nose, and help remove mucous.