Allergies: Treatments

Melissa Lind
Allergy Treatments

In most cases allergies are a temporary situation. Usually the attacks will go away after a few weeks, when the pollen from the plant(s) you are allergic to clears the air.

Antihistamines are usually the first medication recommended for all types of allergies. Antihistamines are readily available in tablet, capsule and liquid form over-the-counter or with a doctor’s prescription. Common types of antihistamines include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratidine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) along with many others. Some allergy medications may dry out the membranes and make you sleepy. It is important to know how you will respond to a medication before driving or operating other equipment. Antihistamine creams are occasionally recommended for topical allergies as well.

Cough medications are important when a respiratory allergy causes excessive irritation of the throat. Over-the-counter cough medications may be used to help cough up any sputum that has been produced or to quiet an irritating cough at night but if the coughing is severe enough to interrupt sleep or is bothersome during the day, a health care practitioner should be contacted.

Eye drops are available over-the-counter to treat the itching and redness that can occur with allergies. These are usually used for hay-fever type allergies but should not be used on a regular basis without the advice of a healthcare professional.

Corticosteroids can be used as oral, topical or inhaled treatment for a variety of allergic reactions but should be done so under the advice of a physician to prevent any long term complications.

Other natural remedies such as colloidal oatmeal, neti-pot treatments and herbal medication may provide some symptomatic relief but should only be tried after a discussion with a health care practitioner.

Even though there are a lot of medical and medication treatments that can be tried and often work, the best treatment is often prevention – by avoiding contact with the allergen.

One of the best steps you can take is to know what you are allergic to and avoid it. You can help it along by removing things in your environment that encourage allergen collection.

You may benefit by removing drapes and carpeting and replacing it with smooth flooring and easy to clean window covers.

Old bedding, dusty pillows and even furniture can harbor tons of allergy producing dust. Replacing items or covering them in plastic can help to minimize dust in the air.

Mowing the lawn and vacuuming are also hazards – necessary chores which you may need to get someone else to perform for you. Vacuuming, dusting and garden work are common triggers for allergic reactions. Many allergy sufferers find it best to stay indoors with an air conditioner filter – especially on days when pollen counts are high.

If you are allergic to certain types of food – avoid it. Some researchers are having good luck with increased exposure to food – but this is done under strict medical supervision, similar to allergy shots – and should not be attempted alone.

Mainly, know yourself, know your body and follow medical advice.