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What’s The Best Over The Counter Allergy Medicine

How Do I Know Which Otc Allergy Medicine Is Right For Me

When determining which type of OTC allergy medication is right for you, consider your worst allergy symptoms.

There is a lot of crossover among the different categories, but in the most simple terms, antihistamines are best for itchy, sneezy noses and help itchy eyes, says Dr. Passer. Nasal sprays are best for congestion and post nasal drainage, but help itch quite a bit, too, and decongestants help with congestion. OTC eye drops are best for eye symptoms.

I dont think there is any differentiation between the medication categories for pollen versus, say, indoor allergens like dust or dog dander, she adds. It really is all the same process in the bodyit just comes from different sources.

Whats The Best Antihistamine For Dogs

Several over-the-counter human antihistamines can work to help relieve dog allergy symptoms, but we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian before administering any of these medications.

is the most popular antihistamine for humans andcan be effective for dogs as well. Just be aware that Benadryl has sedative properties, so your dog could get very drowsy. Other safe antihistamines for dogs include and . They produce less sedation than Benadryl does but could still make your dog drowsy.

Warning: Make sure your OTC allergy medicine only contains antihistamine. Some may contain other ingredients, such as decongestants, which arent safe for dogs.

What Are Antihistamines For

Antihistamines are the most common treatment for allergy symptoms resulting from allergic rhinitis, also known as allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. Allergic rhinitis can affect people either seasonally, known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, or all year round, known as perennial allergic rhinitis.

It has been reported that over 30% of adults and over 40% of children will be affected by allergy symptoms. The most common symptoms that patients complain of are sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes as well as hives in more severe cases.

Although not completely understood why, the symptoms tend to be worse in the evening which can lead to troubled and restless sleep. Antihistamines taken by mouth are considered the best therapy for allergic rhinitis symptoms and are usually very effective.

Most antihistamines were at one point available only via a prescription but luckily, a vast majority of them are now available over the counter. In addition in their use for allergy symptoms, antihistamines are a common medication for insomnia.

Flonase Sensimist 24hour Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

If youre wary of nasal sprays, Flonase Sensimist might be a good option for you. After all, its one of the more gentle versions on the market. Sensimist is also scent-free and practically drip-free as well. Similar to the regular Flonase product, this spray also blocks six inflammatory substances . Hence, it does a great job combatting nasal congestion and sneezing along with itchy, watery eyes, and noses. Even better, Sensimist is also non-drowsy and provides 24-hour relief.

Best Natural: Navage Nasal Irrigation

Allergic Conjunctivitis

OK, so this one isn’t a medicine. But when it comes to natural remedies for allergies, a 2018 review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that nasal irrigation can be effective in relieving allergy symptoms. While the overall evidence was low and the studies were small, there are some notable benefits to nasal irrigation: namely, there are no side effects, and it can be used in both adults and children.

When using nasal irrigation, always follow the instructions exactly and only use the solution included with the product. You should never use tap water with nasal irrigation because of a small risk of introducing harmful germs to the sinus cavities, per the .

Buy it:; Price: $99.95

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Additional reporting by Katrina Cossey

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Best Allergy Medications For Long

If you regularly suffer from allergies during a certain time of year , consider talking to your doctor about corticosteroids. Although these take longer to relieve symptoms, they are very effective for long-term symptom management. You can plan ahead and start taking a corticosteroid a few weeks before allergy season starts. 

Another option for long-term relief is immunotherapy. This can come in the form of allergy shots or tablets taken under the tongue. Immunotherapy works by exposing you to low levels of allergens and then gradually increasing the exposure so that your immune system builds up a tolerance.

What To Look For In A Decongestant:

If youre really miserable, consider an antihistamine that also contains the oral decongestant pseudoephedrine. But decongestants arent recommended for long-term use or if you have urinary tract issues, high blood pressure or heart problems as they can raise blood pressure slightly, said Dr. Bajowala.

If you want to skip the decongestant, saline rinses or neti pots may provide minor relief, too, but youll need to use them several times a day.

Skip the sprays that shrink nasal passages, such as Afrin or Neo-Synephrine theyre okay for a day or two, but any longer can cause a rebound effect that makes congestion worse, said Bajowala.

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Medicated Sprays Or Baths

While not a long-term solution, you can give your itchy pooch some quick relief with an OTC medicated spray or bath. These products typically contain hydrocortisone or a similar ingredient that relieves skin irritation and itch along with soothing oatmeal, aloe, tea tree oil, chamomile, or other itch and irritation reducers. 

Typical Dosing For Allegra

Allegra-D is available as a 24-hour or 12-hour tablet.

  • 24-hour tablet: The typical dose for adults and children 12 years and older is 1 tablet by mouth once a day on an empty stomach.
  • 12-hour tablet: The typical dose for adults and children 12 years and older is 1 tablet by mouth every 12 hours on an empty stomach.

When Do You Need Antihistamine Eye Drops

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For some people, allergy season comes with itchy eyes that oral antihistamines cannot control. If this is the case for you, you may benefit from an antihistamine eye drop. Antihistamine eye drops work directly in your eyes to block the release of histamine and prevent allergy symptoms. Several products that used to require a prescription are now available over the counter.

The best options for long-lasting relief include the following products:

  •  : You can use the 0.2% drops once a day or the 0.1% drops once or twice a day.
  •  : Ketotifen can provide relief for up to 12 hours.
  • Slightly tilt your head back and look up.
  • Pull down on your lower lid to make a pocket.
  • Without touching the tip of the bottle to your eye or eyelids, squeeze one drop into the pocket of your lower lid.
  • Close your eye, and do not blink.
  • Press gently on your tear duct to keep the eye drop from draining into your nose.
  • Replace the lid on the eye drop bottle and rewash your hands.
  • Whether allergy season brings a runny nose and sneezing, or your symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, you can find relief with OTC allergy medication. Although your doctor may write a prescription for allergy medication, some insurance plans may not cover them because they are available over the counter. If your insurance does not cover your medication, you can use a free Rx savings card to get the lowest prescription price.

    Best Nasal Spray: Nasacort Aq

    Nasacort AQ is a steroid nasal spray, similar to Flonase but with a different active ingredient .

    The most important thing to keep in mind when using these sprays, Dr. Kalra says, is that they should be used on a regular basis to be most effective. They don’t work as well when they’re used “as needed.” The recommended dosing for people over 18 is one spray in each nostril twice daily or two sprays in each nostril once daily.

    The technique you use is incredibly important to help cut down on irritation and up the effectiveness, she adds, so be sure to follow the instructions on the package and talk to your doctor if you’re unsure of how to use the spray.

    These meds aren’t right for everyone, so talk to your doctor before starting them.

    Buy it:; Price: $17.96 for 120 sprays

    Keep Sniffles And Itchy Eyes At Bay With These Options

    editorial processDaniel More, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, FACP

    Daniel More, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, FACP, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.

    Medical Review Board

    Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

    From pets to pollen,allergiesare the worst. Unfortunately, its often difficult to avoid the stuff youre allergic to. Who can resist an adorable puppy or a lovely stroll in the park? To get your watery eyes, runny nose, and all other symptoms under control, you need a reliableover-the-counter allergy medicine.

    Even though there are dozens of options available to treat allergies, the various options can be overwhelming. Allergy medications may promise instant relief, but theyre not all the samesome may induce drowsiness, while others may only treat specific allergies. Take into consideration your individual symptoms, which may be treated best by specific ingredients or forms, from liquid and sprays to tablets.

    Whether youre looking for natural ingredients or a non-drowsy pill that will keep you going throughout the day, these are the best OTC allergy medicines.

    Can Dogs Take Zyrtec

    Yes, Zyrtec can be a safe and effective antihistamine for pups. Vets recommend approximately 0.5 mg per pound of body weight, given once to twice daily.

    Zyrtec vs Claritin for dogs wondering which is better? Like with humans, it depends on the individual. You can speak with your vet about trying both individually to see which seems to work better for your pup.

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    • Thins & loosens mucus that causes chest congestion
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    • Mucinex is the #1 doctor recommended OTC expectorant among Internists, General Practitioners & Family Practitioners

    Similar item to consider

    Goodsense Allergy Relief Loratadine Tablets

    GoodSense is a well-known brand in the antihistamine market, with its Loratadine Tablets third on the list of top-rated medicines for hives. What makes it a viable option for a lot of people is that its very affordable, costing only a fraction of what other medications might cost. At such a low price point, people looking for an antihistamine to keep in stock for family or office use can get great value for their money with GoodSense.

    Of course, while it is relatively effective, loratadine has been known to work only on a select fraction of the population. This means that you may or may not experience relief when you use this antihistamine. In the even that it doesnt provide positive outcomes, it would be necessary to choose a different drug all together.

    Common Otc Medicine For Canine Allergies

    Below is a list of common allergy medicines and what they do for your pupper. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian before giving any medication that you can get over the counter. 

    Antihistamines perhaps the most common and well-known allergy medication is the antihistamine. Lets discuss what histamine is to fully understand what this medication does. 

    are chemicals that your immune system makes to tame allergens. Lets say a sneeze, runny nose, etc.; those are both ways your body is trying to rid of the allergen that is invading it. 

    When allergens enter your body, your immune system responds to them as if they are foreign invaders that are harmful to you. Then the mast cells in your dogs body release histamines to boost blood to the areas of concern. This blood flow causes inflammation, which then causes your dogs body to repair the surrounding area. Because histamines are also in your gut, they also respond to food allergies. Some common antihistamines are: 

    • Benadryl

    All of these medications are deemed safe as long as there are no other additives, so make sure you read the label carefully and consult with your veterinarian before use. It is also good to note that some of these medications can make your pet drowsy or hyperactive. 

    • Flonase
    • Nasonex

    Side Effects From Allergy Medications

    Over-the-counter allergy medications may cause mild or, in some cases, severe side effects. Tell your doctor about any side effects you experience while taking allergy medications. Be sure to read the drug label so you understand all potential risks and drug interactions. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can interact with many common allergy medications.

    What Are The Benefits Of Otc Allergy Medicine For Toddlers

    This Is How To Get Over A Cold Quick Best Cold And Flu

    Allergy medicine for toddlers bought over-the-counter have many benefits. The major one, of course, is that they are made specifically for children and are therefore safe for your toddler. There are more specific benefits, though, depending on the type of allergic medication your kid needs or is taking.

    The US FDA normally regulates OTC allergy medications. As such, these are guaranteed safe for your toddler. Additionally, they also do the work they are made to do. Giving the best OTC allergy medicine to your child can be a big help.

    Over-the-counter allergy medications suppress histamines, which are the ones that cause symptoms and allergic reactions like the stuffy nor a runny nose, itchiness, and watery and red eyes. They help relieve children of the discomfort caused by allergic reactions. They help make the children feel better.

    The best OTC allergy medicine can flush out allergens and relieve nasal congestion. This is especially true for nasal sprays available for over-the-counter purchase. Oral decongestants contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, however, are not recommended for toddlers because of the side effects they can have on them. The best option is an OTC allergy nasal spray.

    Antihistamines that contain decongestants, such as Claritin D, are also one of the most effective and efficient is flushing out allergens and relieving nasal stuffiness.

    The Best First Generation Antihistamine

    First generation antihistamines can be very effective when they are used in the right situation. They are typically used for three different purposes:

    Sleep Aid

    As a sleep aid, Benadryl and dimenhydrinate are the most effective. They can both cause a hangover effect, but they on average only last 4-6 hours so it typically is not an issue as long as you plan on getting a full nights rest.

    Allergic reactions to food or drugs

    Benadryl is the best choice here. It has the most evidence for benefit, and works better to reduce swelling and hives than other antihistamines.

    Second-line options for seasonal allergies

    Chlor-Trimetron is a great second line option for allergy symptoms if the second generation antihistamines don’t work well enough. While it may cause sedation and only lasts around 4 hours, it is not as sedating as many of the other first generation antihistamines and works exceptionally well for a runny nose and watery eyes.

    Second Generation


    Claritin was the first of the second generation to go over the counter. It is the least expensive option of all the over the counter second generation antihistamines. It works for 24 hours and is completely non-drowsy. It is a great first choice medication for those looking for something to help with their allergy symptoms. Even though studies have shown that the other antihistamines may work faster, it only applies to the first few doses and is fairly insignificant.



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    It’s allergy season, which means that on top of your uncomfortable symptoms, people are probably shooting you dirty looks if you’re in public sniffling and sneezing.

    Seasonal allergies can bring itchy eyes and throat, cough and a runny nose, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology never a good look in the middle of a pandemic. But the good news is that there are over-the-counter allergy medicines that can help.

    Here, we’ve rounded up the best OTC allergy medicines out there, according to insight from Anjeli Kalra, MD, allergist at UCHealth and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology at University of Colorado Hospital.


    All of the following medications and dosages are only recommended for adults 18 and older. No matter your age, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any medication.

    Allergy Causes And Triggers

    As you have already seen, an allergic reaction is the result of your body trying to fight off what it perceives as a threat to your health. So what are some of the common triggers of histamine in allergy sufferers?

    Lets take a look at some of the most common ones by category.

    • Airborne allergens. These include substances that are found in the air, such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites. and mold
    • Certain foods. Some people have allergic reactions to certain foods, with the most common being nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk
    • Insect stings and bites. The main culprits are ants, bees, mosquitoes, and wasps.
    • Medications. Some medicines can actually do more harm than good if you have an allergy to them. Penicillin is the most common and at times dangerous.
    • Epidermal allergens. These are allergens that cause skin irritations and include but are not limited to latex, polyester, and any other substances that can cause allergic skin reactions

    If you find yourself being affected by any of these, you will need to get the best over the counter allergy medicine for fast relief.

    And make sure to avoid substances that trigger your allergic reaction if possible.

    If youre not sure what triggers your allergic reactions, Id suggest you keep a diary and note down when your allergy is triggered and what will be in that environment. You will eventually find a common thread and discover the culprit.

    Use With Contact Lenses

    Speaking of contacts, its important to make sure the eye drops are safe for use with your lenses.

    Most eye drop instructions recommend waiting 10 to 15 minutes before putting in your contacts, says Dr. Dass, who emphasizes the importance of reading the instructions that come with your brand of eye drops .

    Pick The Right Medicine For The Job

    There are different types of OTC allergy medicines available, from eye drops to pills to nasal sprays, so choosing the right one for the job can help ease your symptoms more effectively.

    Dr. Kalra notes that the first go-to for the usual allergy offenders like nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and post-nasal drip should be an intranasal corticosteroid, such as Flonase, Nasacort or Rhinocort. However, for persistent itchy/watery eyes, an OTC eye drop will probably be most helpful.

    Buying Information For Antihistamines For Hives

    Allergic reactions are characterized by a group of symptoms that may or may not occur in certain people. For instance, two people with the same allergy to can manifest a reaction in different ways. One might only have a runny nose, while another develops hives.

    This itchy skin irritation can be very uncomfortable, becoming a big enough reason for people to call in sick. By taking note of these specifics, you can make it easier to relieve hives with an antihistamine thats meant for you.

    • Active Ingredient. Antihistamines come in many forms. Some only target nasal and sinus symptoms, while others act more effectively on itching and skin irritation. This all depends on their main active ingredient, which ultimately decides what a particular antihistamine is intended for.
    • Fexofenadine. Much milder than other options, this antihistamine relieves hives minus the potential for side effects like drowsiness.
    • Diphenhydramine. Another popular antihistamine, diphenhydramine can be used to address hives. However, it is known to cause severe drowsiness making it a poor choice for people on the go.
    • Chlorpheniramine Maleate. A powerful antihistamine, chlorpheniramine maleate specifically targets nasal and sinus symptoms, but does have some properties that also effectively relieve hives. Side effects can be very unpleasant however, including high blood pressure, drowsiness, nausea, and headaches.

    Is Your Allergy Medication Not Working

    Itâs fairly easy to tell if an OTC allergy medication isnât working. If your symptoms persist or even get worse, it could indicate that you arenât using the right medication.

    Unfortunately, many people find that an allergy medication that used to be effective no longer works for their symptoms. In a national survey of 2,500 U.S. adults with allergic rhinitis, nearly half of them reported that their allergy medications did not provide 24-hour relief, and many said that the medicationâs effectiveness declined after a few months.

    There are several possible reasons for this:

    â       Environmental changes, such as air pollution and warming temperatures, can make your allergies worse and make medications seem less effective.

    â       People may develop new allergies, or their symptoms may change over time.

    â       Many medications need to be taken regularly to be effective; not taking them as directed may make it seem like they are less effective.

    â       Age and high levels of stress can increase sensitivity to allergies, and the same medications may not be as effective.

    What Can You Do If Your Allergy Medication Is Not Working

    Over the Counter Medications

    Allergy shots, also known as , may eliminate or lessen allergy symptoms if medications are ineffective or intolerable. Immunotherapy works by reducing to allergens. Each shot contains a small, but increasing, amount of allergen. This challenges the body to build up over time. The drawbacks to immunotherapy include use of shots, cost and the fact it may take many months to complete.

    What To Look For When Youre Buying Allergy Medication

    Not sure where to start when it comes to allergy meds? Lets discuss a few major factors worth considering before you purchase your drug of choice.

    • Active ingredients: Different active ingredients trigger different effects. Diphenhydramine , for example, is an antihistamine. Antihistamines work differently than  decongestants like pseudoephedrine . Learn more about the differences in our comprehensive allergy relief guide.
    • Effective duration: Some allergy medicines are intended to be taken every 46 hours, while others are formulated to last 24 hours, so you only have to take them once daily. 
    • Side effects: Some allergy medicines cause drowsiness, which is worth noting if youre planning to take your allergy medicine in the morning, during the day or anytime you might have to drive.


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