If you find yourself with the symptoms of
allergies, visit your local pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter, or
OTC, medication for relief. There are two types of OTC medication for
treating allergies: antihistamines and decongestants. This is the first
spring allergy season that prescription strength, 24-hour, non-drowsy
medication is available over the counter. Talk to your pharmacist about
what might be best to treat your symptoms and follow the instructions
on the label.
- Antihistamines can
help stop allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery
eyes and itching of the nose and throat. They work by blocking the
action of histamine,
the substance that causes your symptoms. You may need to take an antihistamine
regularly during peak allergy season.
There are two types of antihistamines:
non-drowsy formulas and those that might make you drowsy.
Antihistamines come in tablets, quick-dissolve tablets,
capsules or liquid.
generation” antihistamines, provide non-drowsy,
24-hour allergy relief and – for the first time – are
available over the counter. The non-drowsy antihistamines
you may consider taking include Alavert™ and
The original “first generation” antihistamines may make
you drowsy, a common side effect. First generation antihistamines
include Actifed® and Benadryl®.
- Decongestants help
clear your stuffy nose and improve breathing. They work by reducing
blood flow to the area (nose, eyes or ears), which allows less fluid
in the area, clearing up your congestion.
Decongestants come as eye and nose drops, sprays, oral tablets and
liquid. You should use nose drops and sprays for only three days to
avoid later swelling in the nose, which increases your congestion.
You can use eye drops more often.
Some decongestants you may consider taking include
Afrin®, Dimetapp®, Dristan®,
Robitussin® and Sudafed®.