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Can’t Stop the Sniffles? Here’s the Reason Why OTCs Struggle to Combat Your Allergy Symptoms

Spring has sprung and with it comes warmer weather, longer days and the promise of summer. But for allergy sufferers, this season also signals stuffy noses, watery eyes and chronic cough.

If you’re treating your allergies with over-the-counter medications, you’re probably only experiencing short-lived relief or struggling with the side effects of your treatment. Worse yet, your symptoms may have gotten even more severe. But how is that possible?

The three most common types of OTC medications for allergies are decongestants, antihistamines and nasal steroids. While they may be able to treat your immediate symptoms, they usually are not able to target the specific allergen, which is why your OTC medication falls flat on relief after just a few days.

Decongestants can raise blood pressure and heart rate, while nasal spray decongestants can actually increase the pressure of a stuffy nose and potentially lead you to become dependent on spray usage. Antihistamines carry a long list of side effects, including drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation and difficulty urinating, with some children experiencing nightmares, irritability and restlessness. Nasal steroids are the main treatment for allergic rhinitis, but have side effects that mirror typical allergy symptoms, plus possible nosebleeds, nausea and muscle or joint pain.

So what can you do for long-term relief?

First, schedule an appointment with an allergist to identify your triggers. Seasonal allergies are broad, so find out exactly what you should be avoiding. Speak with one of the physicians at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM about allergy skin testing. Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM is a group practice with eight locations in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs that provides state-of-the-art medical care in a personal and caring environment, emphasizing the control of asthma and allergic disease, while avoiding side effects from medications.

With access to more than 100 allergens, they can test based on your medical history, environmental survey and physical examination through a quick and needleless method.

Once you know your triggers, you can start treatment that’s right for you. You won’t find answers in the cold and flu aisle of your local supermarket. Let one of the physicians at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM determine the best treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms.

Consider immunotherapy. If your allergies continue to interfere with your life, your allergist may recommend immunotherapy, which could deliver near complete relief from your symptoms. Immunotherapy treats the underlying cause of the allergic reaction by gradually increasing the dose of allergens administered to the patient to build up natural tolerance to allergens without medications. While traditional immunotherapy involves routine shots, today, needle-free options are available, including sublingual (under the tongue) drops and tablets.

For more information on how Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM can help treat your allergy symptoms this spring, visit them online. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-86-COUGH, or book online by clicking here.