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The Pitfalls of Self Prescribing OTC Allergy Meds

Photo Credit: Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM

Anyone who has had a nasty bout of itchy eyes and congestion knows that it’s hard not to go running straight to the drugstore. Sure, over-the-counter medications can help alleviate some of the annoying symptoms of allergies, but they can be troublesome on their own accord.

Looking to stop your allergies in their runny, watery tracks? The answer won’t be found inside the walls of a drugstore. Think you and your store bought nasal spray are the exception? Think again. Here’s why you should avoid the over-the-counter cycle altogether and seek the help of an allergy specialist for long term solutions to your seasonal woes.

First, consider the laundry list of side effects that come with over-the-counter medications. Drowsiness, nervousness, dry mouth, blurred vision, headache… we did say “laundry list”, right? If you’re treating your allergies with over-the-counter medications, specifically those with antihistamines, you could be swapping out itchy, red eyes with all of the above. Sure, you’re probably experiencing temporary relief, but that comes at the cost of struggling with the side effects. Decongestants can raise your heart rate and blood pressure and nasal spray decongestants can increase your nasal pressure. Even worse, some nasal medications can cause nose bleeds, dependence and even nausea. Worth the temporary relief in symptoms? We didn’t think so.

And the root of your symptoms. It’s important to identify your allergy triggers before reaching for relief. A physician at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM can recommend an allergy skin test, where you will be closely monitored and subjected to a small dose of allergens placed directly on the skin to see if a hive or breakout occurs. This type of test is performed for inhalant allergies (think grasses, trees, weeds, dust mites, animal dander and mold — a lot of the seasonal stuff) and foods. Safe for infants, adults and children, this test typically takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. Once you’ve determined your triggers, a physician can help you decide which course of action is right for you.

Look into immunotherapy. It’s a good alternative to longtime suffering. To treat the source of your allergies, this treatment gradually increases on the doses of allergens administered to a patient to train their immune system to fight back and strengthen its natural tolerance. Historically, immunotherapy was shot-based, but today there are needle-free options. The physicians at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM may offer Sublingual Immunotherapy, or “SLIT”, a daily treatment that can be administered in drops taken under the tongue or tablets. Within three to six months of starting treatment, your symptoms will begin to subside. That’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of relief.

Don’t just cover up your symptoms, get to the source of your allergens and fight back with long term results. Your body (and your wallet) will thank you for years to come. To get started on your treatment, schedule your visit. The fellowship trained, board certified allergists of Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM are experts in formulating and prescribing immunotherapy at offices located in Center City Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule an appointment today online at AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or by calling 1-800-86COUGH.