Choosing the Right Over-the-Counter Allergy MedicationWednesday, May 27th, 2015, 12:53 pm
After two years of drought conditions, recent rains in Texas are causing an increased amount of pollen and mold. For many of our patients, the increase in pollen and mold means an increase in allergy symptoms. Before you run to the drug store to pick up over-the-counter allergy medicine, take a few minutes to educate yourself so you buy the product that best suits your needs.
Keep in mind that over-the-counter medication should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical attention, especially if you are experiencing sever symptoms.
As soon as you set foot in the allergy remedy aisle at your local drug store, you’ll be greeted with a barrage of products all promising to make your symptoms a thing of the past.
With so many options, how do you know which one to choose?
For starters, safety must always be a top concern. Over-the-counter allergy medications are generally safe, but some carry more risks than others. In general, watch out for products with “D”. The “D” indicates that the product contains pseudoephedrine. For some people, it can cause increased blood pressure. You could also experience rebound congestion when you stop taking medication that contains pseudoephedrine. These products are best suited to young adults, and they should only be taken when symptoms are at their absolute worst.
Other prescription antihistamines that do not carry the “D” indicator, including former prescriptions like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec are safer and generally cause fewer side effects
If you’re struggling to deal with congestion, over-the-counter mucus thinners like Mucinex may provide some relief. Nasal decongestion sprays, including Dristan and Afrin, are also available, but they should be used sparingly and only to treat severe congestion as there is a possibility of becoming addicted.
Saline rinses are an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Using a preservative-free saline rinse each day flushes up to 30% of the pollen out of your nasal passages, which can greatly decrease your allergy symptoms.
When OTC Medicine Isn’t Enough
Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications are not right for everyone, and they do not cure or treat chronic sinus infections. If your sinuses are infected, an over-the-counter medicine may temporarily mask your symptoms, but it will not eliminate the underlying problem. In fact, treating only the symptoms with OTC medicine could allow the infection to get worse.
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis or severe allergies, we can help you get to the root of your problem and provide you with the solutions you need to live symptom free. At the Sinus & Snoring Centers of Texas, we are here to perform tests to accurately diagnose your problem and provide the treatments that are best suited to your needs. Give us a call today at 956-686-6880 or 956-504-5360 to schedule your consultation.