Before consulting a doctor, there are several over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines that are commonly used in managing the symptoms of hay fever. A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms do not seem to improve after antihistamines are used.
These medications are used in managing hay fever by blocking the action of histamine which is released during an allergic reaction. Understandably, antihistamines stop the symptoms of a typical allergic reaction.
Antihistamines are highly effective in dealing with sneezing, itching and watery eyes but could not help in clearing up a clogged up nose.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops
Corticosteroids are utilized to manage hay fever since they provide an anti-inflammatory effect. Once pollen initiates an allergic reaction, the interior of the nose becomes swollen. These medications minimize the inflammation and prevent the symptoms from manifesting.
The doctor will prescribe corticosteroid drops or nasal sprays instead of antihistamines if the individual experiences persistent hay fever, blocked nose is the main symptoms and if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Corticosteroids are more effective than antihistamine tablets in preventing and relieving the nasal symptoms such as congestion and sneezing as well as itchy, watery eyes. These medications are highly effective if taken a couple of weeks before the symptoms start and work best if taken regularly.
Hay fever can also cause a clogged nose which is why nasal decongestants are also used. These medications work by reducing the swelling of the blood vessels in the nose which opens up the nasal passage and allows effortless breathing.
The doctor might prescribe a nasal decongestant but there many are readily available in drug stores. Always check the ingredients since some decongestants also contain antihistamine.
Eye drops are available to manage the symptoms of hay fever that affect the eyes such as watering, redness and itchiness. These drops contain antihistamine to minimize the inflammation in the eyes, thus relieving the symptoms.
The drops that contain the active ingredient sodium cromoglicate are commonly used and have been considered as safe. Always check the instructions in the packaging for the proper way to use them. Take note that some can cause side effects such as burning or stinging sensation in the eyes.
If the individual experiences symptoms of hay fever that could not be relieved by the commonly used treatments, the doctor might recommend immunotherapy. This treatment involves gradual introduction to small amounts of the allergen such as pollen as well as monitoring the allergic reaction in a controlled environment.
Immunotherapy is performed in a healthcare facility if there is a high risk for a serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. The allergen can be administered as an injection into the skin or as a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. After the initial treatment, the individual is monitored up to an hour.