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Published on May 08, 2018

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4 over-the-counter treatments for seasonal allergies

Antihistamines: These are first-line options to help reduce typical symptoms such as itching, sneezing and runny nose. Use two to five hours before allergen exposure or on a regular basis, if needed. Over-the-counter antihistamines for seasonal allergies include Benadryl, Dramamine, Zyrtec, Claritin, Xyzal and Allegra.

Intranasal: Nasal sprays can help treat itching, sneezing and runny nose. They should be taken on a regular basis, not just when symptoms are present. Recommended brands include Nasacort, Flonase and Rhinocort.

Decongestants: Decongestants can help relieve nasal congestion. They can be taken orally or as a nasal spray. Sudafed is the best known and an effective brand for oral use. Nasal sprays such as Neo-Synephrine, Afrin and Dristan can also be beneficial; however, they should only be used for two to three days to prevent rebound congestion.

Nasal saline: Typically known as a neti-pot, studies have shown nasal saline as a very effective treatment. It can be used alone or with other allergy treatments.

Recipe includes:

  • 1 tsp. un-iodized salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water (distilled, sterile, boiled tap water)

Your pharmacist can be a useful resource for choosing the right product to treat your symptoms. Read labels carefully and talk with your primary care provider or a pharmacist for more information.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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