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Allergy relief options abound this spring

Apr 22 2014, 1:23pm CDT | by , in News | Other Stuff

Allergy relief options abound this spring
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Antihistamines are the way to go

Spring is here in most of the country and that means that people who suffer from allergies are itching their eyes and sneezing profusely everywhere. Thankfully, there are a number of treatments out there to help cure your allergy symptoms; the trick is finding the right option for you.

Whether or not this will be, the worst allergy season is up in the air. Philly.com spoke to Dr. John Cohn from the Department of Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine.

When asked if this would be the worst allergy season, Dr. Cohen said, "I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and I can’t remember the last time I had a newspaper call me and say, ‘I heard this is going to be a good allergy season."

He said that the biggest factor in allergy season is rain. “It’s only when we get a couple of weeks of consistent rain, like true April showers, that it washes away enough of the pollen to make a difference,” Dr. Cohn said. “Other than that, nothing else will drastically change the pollen count.”

Two common remedies are antihistamines and decongestants. The antihistamine blocks the release of histamine, which is something the body makes in an allergic reaction. The decongestant reduces blood flow, in the area helping to reduce swelling and congestion. Dr. Cohen says use an antihistamine.

“The best OTC remedies are non-sedating long-acting antihistamines, of which, there are three kinds: certirizine (Zyterc), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin),” explains Dr. Cohn.

“When you ask me what’s the best drug, I’m thinking, if I give Drug 1 to 100 patients in Group A where 80 percent have a favorable reaction and I give Drug 2 to 100 patients in Group B where only 40 percent have a favorable reaction then I know Drug 1 has greater odds of reacting well with patients — in this case, Drug 1 is antihistamines.”

 

As far as nose sprays go, the doc recommends against them.

“These decongestants are addictive and cause rebound, so if you use them [repeatedly for more than three to five consecutive days] they’ll cause nasal damage and you’ll experience worse symptoms than you did before,” Dr. Cohn explained.

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