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The Gamble of Over-the-Counter Allergy Medications

Sneezing Woman

As spring’s beautiful blooms arrive and you start to spend more time outside, you might notice the onset of a scratchy throat, itchy eyes, runny nose or a headache. Yep, it’s those dreaded seasonal allergies again. But before you run to the nearest pharmacy to find a fix you might want to think again. Trying to find the right combination over-the-counter medications can be a huge waste of time and money.

Sure, OTCs can alleviate some of the annoying symptoms of allergies, but the temporary relief can come with a cost and additional side effects. Anti-histamines could actually increase your suffering by adding other symptoms like dry mouth, headaches, blurred vision, hypertension and drowsiness. Decongestants can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, causing sleeplessness and irritability and nasal sprays can increase your nasal pressure, causing nosebleeds and nausea.

Skip the self-prescribing and follow these steps for real relief instead:

Seek the advice of a board-certified allergist

Instead of self-medicating with tablets and sprays from off the shelf, schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist to help you get your treatment just right. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for allergies, so you’ll want to confer with a specialist on the best plan to treat yours. Don’t generalize your symptoms, seek the source of your suffering head on with proper testing.

Find the source of your suffering

The key to finding real relief starts with identifying your triggers, by scheduling an allergy testing appointment. A physician at Allergy & Asthma Specialists will likely perform a skin test. During the 20-minute test, the allergist will apply a minuscule drop to your skin of some of the 100+ allergen extracts available to determine which ones cause a reaction, in the form of hives. The most common triggers are pollen, mold and animal dander. Once you know your triggers, the physician can determine the best course of action for you.

Put a plan in action

An effective treatment plan may be as simple as identifying the best combination of medications and tips on avoiding your allergy triggers. With the right medication and lifestyle changes, a good treatment plan can reliably limit your allergy symptoms. More often than not, this can all be accomplished in a single appointment, which means you could be sleeping, feeling, and looking better in no time.

If you’ve been suffering with symptoms season after season, you might want to consider immunotherapy. To combat your suffering, immunotherapy uses a targeted method to train your immune system to fight back and strengthen its natural tolerance. A small dose of your trigger allergens is administered over time through injection, drops or tablets, resulting in near complete relief of symptoms. Within three to six months of starting treatment, your symptoms will begin to subside.

Offices are located in Center City Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Blue Bell, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Collegeville and Pottstown. To schedule an appointment at an Allergy & Asthma Specialists location near you, call 1-800-86COUGH, extension 2 or visit their website today.