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If you're one of the 36 million Americans who experiences allergies, read these remedies for allergies from physicians on the Baylor Plano medical staff.
Antihistamines: For those who have itchy eyes, antihistamine eye drops and pills block histamine, a substance that provokes itchy, watery eyes, according to Sandeep Gupta, M.D, allergist. However, some antihistamines may cause drowsiness without treating the root cause of the problem.
“Sometimes patients choose antihistamines and nasal steroids because they fit better with their life situation,” says Dr. Gupta. If over-the-counter medicines aren’t helpful, visit your physician to discuss other treatment options.
Nasal steroids and decongestants: Prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays decrease inflammation and swelling of the airways to help reduce symptoms of a stuffy nose. In addition, they help prevent the discharge of inflammatory chemicals that cause a stuffy nose, explains Dr. Gupta. Some nonsteroidal sprays that can be purchased over-the-counter also prevent the formation of these chemicals and decrease symptoms; however, they’re not as effective as they’re prescription counterparts.
Decongestants reduce the size of blood vessels, which limits the fluid that seeps out. They can be purchased in liquid, tablet form or as a nasal spray, and are sold over-the-counter and by prescription. Limit the use of over the counter decongestant nasal spray to no more than three days in a row as your congestion may grow worse, causing an increased dependency on the medication.
Vaccines: Those who have a seasonal allergy episode one year, have a one in four chance of developing chronic allergies the next year, explains Dr. Gupta. “Patients who begin experiencing symptoms of headaches, sinus disease, asthma, coughs, vertigo or dizziness on a recurring basis may need to seek further treatment from their doctor. Some patients benefit from monthly vaccines, which help their bodies develop immunities to the allergens,” says Dr. Gupta.
Allergy Drops: Traditionally, when allergy prescriptions fail to provide relief, the next suggested treatment option is often traditional immunotherapy. But now there is another option, allergy drops.
These drops contain the same FDA approved antigens used in the shots but are administered under the tongue; they adjust the patient's immune system making it less likely to react to allergens. "Typically, the patient will place between one to three allergy drops under the tongue, hold for two minutes, then swallow,” says Kevin Lunde, M.D., an ENT allergist. Patients can even take the drops at home, and within a few months many patients no longer have to rely on medicines. Allergy drops may also be less expensive for patients since they don't require frequent visits to the physicians’ office like the shots do.Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery: People who suffer from chronic allergies may develop recurrent or chronic sinus infections. “Minimally invasive surgery in which the sinus openings are enlarged can provide relief for many chronic sinus sufferers,” says Dr. Lunde. The surgery improves the sinuses ability to drain and allows medication to get up in the nose where many problems begin. No facial scars are left with this procedure.
Need an allergist? Find an allergist on the Baylor Plano medical staff.
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