Medical Therapy

Those whose allergies aren’t as bothersome, or won’t benefit from immunotherapy, often choose to treat their symptoms with medical therapy. There are several types of allergy treatment medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, which target allergy symptoms and bring relief.

Antihistamines are a popular and effective medical treatment for allergy symptoms. They are available in a variety of forms including pills, liquids, nasal sprays and eye drops. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, the substance released by the immune system in response to an allergen. Histamines attach themselves to blood vessel receptors, causing redness, swelling and itching. Antihistamines prevent this from occurring. Popular antihistamines include Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, Clarinex and Zyrtec. Antihistamines may cause drowsiness, so avoid taking them in situations where alertness is important.

Decongestants work by shrinking the swollen nasal tissues and blood vessels that occur during an allergic reaction, helping to relieve congestion, runny nose and redness. They are available in liquid and pill form, nasal sprays and eye drops. Decongestants are often used in conjunction with antihistamines for maximum relief; in fact, some medications offer a combination of both drugs. Their use should be limited to a few days at a time; continuing to take them longer can cause a rebound effect that actually worsens symptoms. Popular decongestants include Sudafed, Afrin and Visine. As with antihistamines, there is some risk of side effects including increased blood pressure, insomnia and irritability.

Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation from swelling, and relieve a variety of allergy symptoms including congestion, sneezing, itchiness and runny nose. They are available as pills, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, topical creams and eye drops. It can take a week or two before you feel their effects; for best results, these should be taken on a daily basis for as long as you are suffering from allergies. Popular corticosteroids include Flonase, Nasonex, Flovent, Advair and prednisone. Steroids have many possible side effects such as weight gain, fluid retention, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and muscle weakness.

*note:please read labels for kids allergy treatment in Houston to make sure they are safe for you child to use.