How Are Allergies Treated
Although avoiding the allergen is an important treatment approach, it usually doesnt completely end the allergic reaction.
Medications such as antihistamines , decongestants , or a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications, are used to treat your allergy symptoms. Nasal sprays such as topical nasal steroids , cromolyn sodium, and topical nasal antihistamines also can be used to treat allergy symptoms.
Asthma medications, which reduce allergy symptoms, include:
- Inhaled bronchodilators.
- Oral anti-leukotrienes .
- Injected medications, such as omalizumab , dupilumab , reslizumab , benralizumab , or Mepolizumab .
Immunotherapy or allergy oral immunotherapy is recommended if your symptoms arent adequately controlled with a combination of avoidance measures and regular medication use. This shot has been shown to be effective in properly selected patients with allergic rhinitis and/or allergic asthma.
Another treatment option is saline irrigation using a sinus rinse kit. These rinse kits are sold over-the-counter or can be made at home. To make your own rinse, combine one-half teaspoon non-iodinated salt with one-half teaspoon baking soda in eight ounces of distilled or boiled water. This mixture rinses out allergens and decreases the amount of inflammation they cause.
How To Treat An Allergy Cough
Oral antihistamines are the first-line treatment for allergy symptoms, blocking the underlying mechanisms that can lead to an allergy cough.
Second-generation antihistamines are the preferred option because they are less likely to cause drowsiness. With that said, first-generation antihistamines like Benadryl may be a good option before bedtime if allergy symptoms are interfering with sleep.
To treat the cough itself, you can consider the following options:
- Take an over-the-counter expectorant like Mucinex to loosen phlegm.
- Use an over-the-counter decongestant Sudafed to open nasal passages.
- Use a nasal steroid spray like Nasacort to relieve inflammation and ease breathing,
- Suck on a cough lozenge, especially ones containing eucalyptus.
- Use a saline nasal spray or irrigation, like a neti pot, to clear nasal passages.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer to help moisturize the air.
- Inhale steam either with a commercial inhaler or a heated pot of water to loosen mucus and ease throat irritation.
Cleaning Your Nasal Passages
Regularly cleaning your nasal passages with a salt water solution known as nasal douching or irrigation can also help by keeping your nose free of irritants.
You can do this either by using a homemade solution or a solution made with sachets of ingredients bought from a pharmacy.
Small syringes or pots that often look like small horns or teapots are also available to help flush the solution around the inside of your nose.
To make the solution at home, mix half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into a pint of boiled water that’s been left to cool to around body temperature do not attempt to rinse your nose while the water is still hot.
To rinse your nose:
- stand over a sink, cup the palm of one hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it
- sniff the water into one nostril at a time
- repeat this until your nose feels comfortable you may not need to use all of the solution
While you do this, some solution may pass into your throat through the back of your nose. The solution is harmless if swallowed, but try to spit out as much of it as possible.
Nasal irrigation can be carried out as often as necessary, but a fresh solution should be made each time.
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What Causes Seasonal Allergies
When symptoms blossom in the spring, look to trees, grass and pollen as likely culprits. And if they flair up in the fall, pay attention to ragweed, another trigger. If youre sensitive to dust or mold, you may be bothered by symptoms year round.
Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center, discusses seasonal allergies and symptoms.
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
What are seasonal allergies?
Your Eyes Are Itchy And Watery
While you might notice some redness or discomfort around your eyes when you’re sick with a cold, it’s more likely that allergies are causing eye symptoms like watering and itching, Dr. Rosenstreich said.
Your nose and throat might feel itchy with a cold, said Dr. Metcalfe, but a cold usually doesn’t affect the eyes. Allergies may also cause some swelling around the eyes, added Dr. Parikh.
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What Things Most Often Cause An Attack
Why do some people have such bad allergies and others donât? Experts donât have all the answers, but they say family history is important.
Some common allergens include:
- Itchy eyes, nose or roof of mouth
- Red, swollen, watery eyes — a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis
Food allergies: You may feel tingling in your mouth. Your tongue, lips, throat, or face might swell up. Or you could get hives. In the worst cases, you might have anaphylaxis and will need medical help right away.
Eczema: Also known as atopic dermatitis, it is a skin condition. Most types of eczema are not allergies. But the disease can flare up when you’re around things that cause an allergic reaction. Your body’s immune system overreacts to substances, called allergens, that are usually not harmful. You might get hives, itching, swelling, sneezing, and a runny nose. You might have it if you have itching, redness, and peeling or flaking.
Medications: If youâre allergic to a certain drug, you may get a rash, facial swelling, or hives. You could find yourself wheezing. In severe cases, you may develop anaphylaxis.
Stings: If youâre allergic to bees or other insects you may get:
- A large area of swelling, known as edema, at the site of the sting
- Itching or hives all over your body
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, or a cough
As with some other allergies, such as food and medication, a severe reaction to a sting can lead to anaphylaxis.
Signs Your Child May Have Seasonal Allergies
Symptoms of seasonal allergies include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, cough, and dark circles under the eyes.
Seasonal allergies can be more than just a mild annoyance. Some of the consequences of allergies in children include:
- Fatigue and poor concentration in school due to lack of sleep
- An increase in ear and sinus infections
- Asthma exacerbations
- Behavioral issues from discomfort and lack of sleep
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Nasal Allergy Symptom : Postnasal Drip
Normally, you swallow mucus without even knowing it. But if your mucus becomes thick, or if you have more mucus than normal, it results in postnasal drip. Thatâs when you can feel mucus dripping from the back of your nose into your throat. Postnasal drip can also feel like a lump in your throat and can lead to pain or irritation there.
In addition to avoiding your allergy triggers, try drinking extra fluids or using saline nasal spray to thin the mucus. Ask your doctor about other ways to get relief.
When To See A Doctor
If OTC allergy drugs dont stop the allergic reaction, see your doctor immediately. Also, if you notice an allergic reaction after starting a new drug, reach the doctor that recommended it immediately.
In severe cases, like anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical assistance. If you have epinephrine on you, self-administer the medication as soon as you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction.
You should still visit the emergency room after the injection. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction before, schedule an appointment to visit your doctor.
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Allergies Vs Sinus Infection
Allergies can develop at any point in your life. While allergies tend to come up during childhood, its possible to develop allergies to new substances as an adult.
This type of reaction is caused by a negative response to a substance. Your immune system responds by releasing a chemical called histamine, which can then cause symptoms such as headache, sneezing, and congestion. Its also possible to feel foggy and develop a skin rash.
Severe allergies can lead to a cold-like condition called allergic rhinitis. With allergic rhinitis, you can have the above symptoms as well as itchy eyes. This itchiness is one of the key distinguishing factors between allergies and sinusitis.
A sinus infection, on the other hand, occurs when your nasal passages become inflamed. Sinusitis is most often caused by viruses. When the nasal cavity gets inflamed, mucus builds up and gets stuck, further compounding the problem.
Along with nasal congestion and headache, sinusitis causes pain around your cheeks and eyes. Sinus infections also cause thick, discolored mucus, and bad breath.
Compare the following symptoms to see if you have allergies or a possible sinus infection. Its also possible to have both conditions at the same time.
How Do I Know If It’s Just Allergies
“Take your temperature. That’s probably a good first step, since coronavirus almost always includes a fever. If your temperature is normal, it is likely allergies,” says allergist Anu Kewalramani, MD an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
She adds, “Also, think about whether this happens to you every year. Come March and April, do you usually have itchy eyes and a runny nose?” If so, this may just be seasonal allergies acting up.
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How To Treat Allergies During A Pandemic
If you have trouble finding them, or if you need something stronger like corticosteroids, call your doctor. They may be able to prescribe something over the phone or have a telehealth visit with you. Some pharmacies deliver medications.
When social distancing or stay-at-home rules are in effect, always follow the COVID-19 safety steps recommended by public health officials:
Your Symptoms Might Only Show Up At Certain Times
If you have seasonal allergies, your symptoms should arise and go away around the same time each year. For most people, seasonal allergy symptoms begin in the spring and end in the fall. However, depending on your allergy triggers, you may experience allergic rhinitis in any of the four seasons. Here’s a rundown of plants that commonly cause seasonal allergies:
Spring:Tree pollen, particularly from oak, elm, birch, cedar, willow, poplar, horse chestnut and alder trees.
Summer: Grasses, such as ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy grass and Bermuda grass.
Fall: Pollen from weeds is the main concern in the fall months. Many people are allergic to the pollen in ragweed, tumbleweed, pigweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle and other plants.
Winter:Most people find that their allergies go dormant during the winter months because most plants don’t pollinate during winter. If you still get watery eyes and a runny nose during cold weather, you might be allergic to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, mold or pet dander.
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Topical Treatments For Itchy Swollen Watery Eyes
For itchy, swollen eyes, oral medication does not tend to work as effectively as topical eye drops. Allergy eye drops generally contain topical antihistamines. Avoid the use of any product that contains a vasoconstrictor for more than two to three days to avoid rebound redness. Rebound redness is the recurrence of symptoms and can lead to eyes becoming dependent upon eye drops. Artificial tears will also help soothe irritated eyes.
Ask your pediatrician or nurse practitioner if you are interested in exploring other medication options or in long-term treatments such as immune therapy .
Spring Is Here 5 Things Allergy Sufferers Need To Know
Due to global climate changes, allergists warn that spring allergy season continues to worsen each year. Dr. Jigisha Morosky, an allergist/immunologist with Starling Physicians, addresses the most common questions about seasonal allergies.
How do you know if it is a cold, allergy or COVID?
Sometimes it is difficult for people to determine if sniffles, sneezes, sore throat and coughs are caused by allergies, a cold or even sinusitis. Dr. Morosky explains that nasal allergy symptoms and common cold symptoms are essentially identical. Variables we examine are exposure to an allergen, like pollen or a pet, the duration of symptoms months versus 1 to 2 weeks, and if there is improvement while taking allergy medications.
Spring allergies can cause itchy water eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing and even hives. The symptoms of a cold are often characterized by runny nose, sore throat and cough. Patients with severe seasonal allergies can feel very fatigued and have low grade fever making the distinction even harder.
Acute sinusitis is characterized by a stuffy or runny nose accompanied by pain in the forehead and/or over the cheeks. Often both the common cold and allergies can cause swelling of the nasal passages, which prevent the sinuses from draining, then this can lead to sinusitis. Sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, however it often recurs if due to uncontrolled allergies.
What are best over the counter methods to treat allergies?
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What Happens At Your Appointment
A GP may arrange some allergy tests or refer you to a specialist allergy clinic to have them.
Tests you may have include:
- a skin prick or patch test where a small amount of the allergen is put on your skin to see if it reacts
- blood tests to check for allergens that may be causing your symptoms
- a special diet where you avoid or eat less of a food you might be allergic to, to see if your symptoms get better
It Feels Like You Have A Constant Sore Throat
Pet allergies will generally make you feel like you’re living with a cold that won’t go away, and can result in sneezing and coughing. Cat allergies can also lead to a post-nasal drip, a condition in which you produce more mucus which is also thicker in volume, causing it to slide down your throat and create the sensation of a constant sore throat.
One symptom of this type of allergic reaction is that you might also notice that it comes and goes. It could be worse in the morning and at night, or only really bad whenever you’re home. If you always feel like you have a cold, but no fever or any other symptoms, see an allergist.
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What Are Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies strike at different times of the year. Also known as allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, seasonal allergy symptoms occur when airborne irritants, or allergens, enter the eyes, nose and throat, setting off an allergic reaction.
In the spring, flower and tree pollen are common culprits. Grass pollen starts in late spring and peaks in the summer months. Weed pollen and mold spores plague kids mainly in the late summer and fall.
Since children need to be exposed to an allergen before they can be allergic to it, children under two years of age are less likely to have environmental allergies.
How Are Seasonal Allergies Treated
Seasonal allergies are treated in a variety of ways. Most often, over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines help suppress the bodys immune response, providing relief from symptoms. Decongestants can be used to relieve congestion. Over-the-counter cough medications are commonly recommended as well.
For people who need additional relief, antihistamine or steroidal nose sprays can be prescribed by your doctor. These help calm the bodys immune response to seasonal airborne allergens.
If you need more specialized care, your doctor may recommend allergen immunotherapy. This helps your immune system build up a tolerance against an allergen by exposing you to the irritant in small doses. Allergen immunotherapy can be given in two ways:
- Subcutaneous injections: Once your doctor determines what youre allergic to, she administers a series of shots containing those specific allergens. The shots are given in the doctors office over many months or years, usually in the arm.
- Sublingual immunotherapy: As an alternative to injections, you can try prescription tablets or drops that dissolve under the tongue . Sublingual immunotherapy is only available for grass and ragweed allergies, however.
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What You Need To Know
- Allergies are the result of your immune systems response to a substance.
- Immune responses can be mild, from coughing and a runny nose, to a life-threatening reaction know as anaphylaxis.
- A person becomes allergic when their body develops antigens against a substance. Upon repeated exposure the severity of the reaction may increase.
- Allergies affect people of all ages, races, genders and socioeconomic statuses.
Allergic disease is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the world. People with a family history of allergies have an increase risk of developing allergic disease. Hay fever , eczema, hives, asthma, and food allergy are some types of allergic diseases. Allergy symptoms can range from mild to a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction .
Allergic reactions begin in your immune system. When a harmless substance such as dust, mold, or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may over react by producing antibodies that “attack” the allergen. The can cause wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and other symptoms.