What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive.

What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

[7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]

Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pollen count

How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap. The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any hour period.

That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.

A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope. It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S.

What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies



The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing. But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.

Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]

Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders.

The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.

People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.

Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»

Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions.

People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said. But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.

Common allergens

The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants. As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.

Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass.

Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.

The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne. Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.

Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight.

During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.

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  • Hay fever treatments

    Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.

    Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom.

    Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.

    Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips. [7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]

    Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.

    Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source.

    Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation.

    What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

    Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.

    For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.

    Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.

    Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.

    People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.

    Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.

    [5 Myths About Probiotics]

    Additional resources:

    This article was updated on April 30, , by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.

    When youre rubbing itchy eyes and sneezing your way through anallergyflare-up, do you also feel muddled and fuzzy-headed sometimes? Numerous allergy sufferers describe an experience known as brain fog — a hazy, tired feeling that makes it hard to concentrate.

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    What is this phenomenon and why does it happen?

    According to allergist and immunologist Mark Aronica, MD, that disconnected feeling is fatigue, and it’s caused by the inflammation that results when your body tries to counteract your allergy symptoms.

    “People with allergies experience inflammation,” he says. “That inflammation leads to a congested nose, disrupted sleep patterns and not getting excellent rest.”

    And, once the cycle starts, its sometimes self-perpetuating.

    You can discover it hard to go about your daily routines.

    The more fatigued you are, the more difficulty you’ll own performing well in school or work. It can also negatively impact your quality of life if you’re too tired to do things you would normally do.

    Whats really happening?

    Your body produces whats called cytokines whenever youre exposed to an allergen, such as pollen, grass or mold, Dr. Aronica says. (Contrary to favorite belief, the pollen in most flowers doesnt cause allergies, but floral scents can still cause problems for people with sensitive noses.)

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    Cytokines are are proteins that are part of your body’s immune response to foreign substances.

    You also produce them when fighting infections caused by bacteria, viruses and colds.

    The cytokine release causes inflammation in your nose, leading to congestion and narrowed airways.

    If you own allergies, allergen exposure leads to ongoing inflammation. And nasal congestion and disturbed sleep combine to give you that fuzzy-headed feeling.

    “Chronic inflammation from allergies can lead to that foggy feeling,” he says. “And, you’ll finish up not functioning well.”

    Fighting the fog

    If your allergies are acting up and you feel the fog rolling in, there are a few things you can do to assist stop the debilitating cycle of symptoms, inflammation and fatigue, Dr.

    Aronica says.

    1. Limit your exposure.If you’re allergic to pollen or grasses, do your best to stay away from them. Stay indoors when theyre at their peak.Keep your windows closed if you own air conditioning. If you do spend time exterior for longer periods, take a shower and change your clothes correct away when you come in.

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    If you’re allergic to dust or mold, hold up with dusting and cleaning to hold them out of your home as much as possible.


    Take your medicine.Medication can assist curb your allergy symptoms. Oral antihistamines (medications that prevent you from responding to the histamines that cause inflammation) are readily available. They’re a temporary solution, but they are often effective.

    Over-the-counter and prescription nasal sprays can also assist combat your allergy symptoms, Dr. Aronica says.

    3. Get allergy shots.This is the strongest form of treatment for allergy symptoms. Little injections of allergens under the skin can assist your body build up an immunity over time.

    The result is less frequent and less severe allergic rhinitis, Dr. Aronica says.

    He adds that some allergy sufferers also discover relief with nasal lavage — a saline wash that cleans out the sinuses and nasal passages. Numerous people ister this type of wash with aneti pot to clear out lingering allergy symptoms.

    Dr. Aronica notes that other conditions besides allergies may cause fatigue and brain fog. If you own a sore throat, cough, fever or body aches,you could own a freezing or other illness and should take medications that will combat those symptoms.

    Allegra and Zyrtec are both antihistamines, but is one more effective or less likely to cause sedation than the other?

    Allegra has the lowest risk of sedation out of every antihistamines so is preferred if an antihistamine is needed for people working in safety-critical jobs.

    Even though Zyrtec is times more likely to cause sedation than Allegra, it is still much less sedating than some older antihistamines such as promethazine.

    Other differences:

    1. Several studies own found cetirizine (Zyrtec) to be more effective than fexofenadine (Allegra) at relieving symptoms of allergic rhinitis and urticaria, and it appears to own a longer duration of action.
    2. Studies own not compared the effects of Allegra and Zyrtec for conditions such as postnasal drip, but research suggests intranasal antihistamines such as azelastine are more effective.
    3. Allegra works within two hours and Zyrtec works within one hour.
    4. Allegra should not be taken with grapefruit juice.

      Zyrtec has no reported food interactions.

    5. Zyrtec and Allegra should not be taken at the same time, instead, if symptoms are persisting, it is better to take another drug with a diverse mechanism of action.

    Allegra is a brand name for the drug fexofenadine and Zyrtec is a brand name for the drug cetirizine. Both fexofenadine and cetirizine are favorite antihistamines with numerous similarities but there are some significant differences.

    Which is more sedating? Allegra or Zyrtec?

    Allegra (fexofenadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine) are second-generation antihistamines. Second-generation antihistamines were first developed in the s to provide allergy relief without the unwanted side effect of sedation common to first-generation antihistamines such as promethazine and diphenhydramine.

    However, it soon became apparent that not every second-generation antihistamines were equal when it came to not causing drowsiness or affecting other thought processes. Cetirizine is significantly more likely than fexofenadine to cause drowsiness.

    Fexofenadine (Allegra), even in dosages exceeding those recommended, is the least sedating of every second-generation antihistamines, so is considered the antihistamine of choice for people in safety-critical jobs such as airline pilots.

    Which is more effective for Allergic rhinitis?

    Trials own shown both Allegra (fexofenadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine) are significantly more effective than placebo (a pretend pill) for reducing symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, hay fever, and other allergies.

    Trials own not consistently shown that one antihistamine is more effective than another; however, one trial reported cetirizine produced a 26% greater reduction in the number of allergic rhinitis symptoms at 12 hours and 14% greater reduction in symptoms overall compared with fexofenadine. Cetirizine also appeared more effective for symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itchy nose, mouth or throat. Cetirizine was slightly more likely (%) than fexofenadine to cause drowsiness.

    Another trial reported similar findings (33% greater reduction in allergic rhinitis symptoms) and also found cetirizine had a longer duration of effect.

    Intranasal or ophthalmic (into the eye) antihistamines own a quicker onset of action than oral antihistamines (within about 15 minutes); however, they need to be istered several times daily. In people with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and predominantly eye symptoms, ophthalmic antihistamines work much quicker (within 3 to 15 minutes) and are much more effective than any other form of treatment.

    Intranasal antihistamines are as effective as intranasal cromolyn, intranasal nedocromil, and leukotriene modifiers in seasonal allergic rhinitis; however, are not as effective at relieving nasal congestion and other symptoms as intranasal glucocorticoids.

    Allegra Vs Zyrtec for urticaria and other skin reactions

    All second generation antihistamines, including Allegra and Zyrtec, are effective for acute and chronic urticaria, although more trials own been conducted in people with chronic urticaria. One trial found cetirizine to be more effective than fexofenadine at relieving symptoms in 97 patients with chronic urticaria with % of participants taking cetirizine reporting themselves as symptom-free after 28 days of treatment compared with only % of participants taking fexofenadine.

    Partial improvement was reported by % of people assigned cetirizine (% assigned fexofenadine) and % experienced no improvement with cetirizine (% with fexofenadine). No difference in side effects was noted between the two.

    Allegra Vs Zyrtec for Postnasal Drip

    Post nasal drip may happen for various reasons — allergies (particularly to dairy), colds or flu, various drugs (including birth control pills and high blood pressure tablets), freezing temperatures, bright lights, hormonal changes and spicy foods.

    Thin postnasal drip secretions caused by allergies may be treated with antihistamines.

    Second-generation antihistamines such as Allegra and Zyrtec may offer better relief than older-type antihistamines such as promethazine (older antihistamines tend to thicken post-nasal secretions). Intranasal antihistamines, such as azelastine, own a faster onset of action (15 minutes) and appear more effective than oral antihistamines although require more frequent istration. Other treatments include decongestants, cromolyn, and corticosteroid nasal sprays.

    In the treatment of post nasal drip caused by nonallergic causes, oral second-generation antihistamines are not extremely effective. However, the intranasal antihistamine azelastine is effective.

    Azelastine improves every rhinitis symptoms including nasal congestion, postnasal drip, sneezing and sleeping difficulty.

    What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

    The most common side effect is a metallic aftertaste; however, this is more likely at higher dosages and tends to dissipate with continued use.

    Allegra Vs Zyrtec To Relieve Freezing Symptoms

    Second-generation antihistamines (such as Allegra and Zyrtec) own limited effectiveness at relieving symptoms of freezing such as a runny nose and sneezing (only 45% of adults felt better after using them compared to 35% with placebo [a pretend pill]). Effects were only noticeable if used within the first two days of a freezing, use of antihistamines made no difference thereafter.

    Allegra Vs Zyrtec: istration

    The antihistamine effects of Allegra and Zyrtec final for at least 24 hours, therefore, they are both given once daily.

    Fexofenadine, the athletic ingredient of Allegra works within two hours. Cetirizine, the athletic ingredient of Zyrtec works within one hour.

    Allegra Vs Zyrtec: Side Effects, Interactions and Price

    Side effects are generally mild with second-generation antihistamines and include a headache and rarely dry mouth, and nausea. Zyrtec is times more likely than Allegra to cause sedation; however, Zyrtec is still much less sedating than older antihistamines such as promethazine.

    Side effects are generally mild with second-generation antihistamines and include a headache and rarely dry mouth, and nausea.

    Every the second generation antihistamines currently on the market appear free from adverse cardiovascular effects. Few major interactions own been reported with either Allegra or Zyrtec; however, there is the possibility that side effects such as sedation, confusion, and mental alertness may be enhanced if given with other drugs with this side effect.

    Grapefruit juice appears to decrease the rate and extent of absorption of fexofenadine (Allegra) by about 30%.

    Cetirizine (Zyrtec) has no reported interactions with grapefruit or grapefruit products. More studies are needed to determine if there are any interactions between second generation antihistamines and herbal products and other types of food. Always speak with your doctor of pharmacist before using any drugs in combination.

    Cost is similar for 30 Allegra and 30 Zyrtec tablets and both are available as generics.

    See also: Compare Tool — Allegra vs Zyrtec


    1. Post-Nasal Drip. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.

    2. Sharma M, Bennett C, Cohen SN, Carter B. H1-antihistamines for chronic spontaneous urticaria. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews , Issue Art.

      What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

      No.: CD DOI: /CDpub2

    3. Slater JW1, Zechnich AD, Haxby -generation antihistamines: a comparative Jan;57(1)
    4. Banfield C, Gupta S, Marino M, et al. Grapefruit juice reduces the oral bioavailability of fexofenadine but not desloratadine. Clin Pharmacokinet. ;41(4)
    5. Day JH1, Briscoe MP, Rafeiro E, et al. Comparative efficacy of cetirizine and fexofenadine for seasonal allergic rhinitis, hours postdose, in the environmental exposure unit.

      Allergy Asthma Proc. Jul-Aug;26(4)

    6. Meltzer EO, Caballero F, Fromer LM, Krouse JH, Scadding G. Treatment of congestion in upper respiratory diseases. International Journal of General Medicine. ;
    7. Mann RD, Pearce GL, Dunn N, Shakir S. Sedation with “non-sedating” antihistamines: four prescription-event monitoring studies in general practice. BMJ?: British Medical Journal. ;()
    8. Handa S, Dogra S, Kumar B. Comparative efficacy of cetirizine and fexofenadine in the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria.J Dermatolog Treat. Jan;15(1)
    9. Simon FER, Simons KJ. H1 Antihistamines: Current Status and Future Directions. The World Allergy Organization Journal.

      ;1(9) doi/

    10. Hampel F, Ratner P, Mansfield L, et al. Fexofenadine hydrochloride, mg, exhibits equivalent efficacy to cetirizine, 10 mg, with less drowsiness in patients with moderate-to-severe seasonal allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. Oct;91(4)


    Children are magnets for colds. But when the sniffles and sneezing won’t go away for weeks, the culprit may be allergies.

    Long-lasting sneezing, with a stuffy or runny nose, may signal the presence of allergic rhinitis—the collection of symptoms that affect the nose when you own an allergic reaction to something you breathe in and that lands on the lining inside the nose.

    Allergies may be seasonal or can strike year-round (perennial).

    In most parts of the United States, plant pollens are often the cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis—more commonly called hay fever. Indoor substances, such as mold, dust mites, and pet dander, may cause the perennial kind.

    Up to 40 percent of children suffer from allergic rhinitis. And children are more likely to develop allergies if one or both parents own allergies.

    The U.S. Food and Drug istration (FDA) regulates over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines that offer allergy relief as well as allergen extracts used to diagnose and treat allergies.

    Take care to read and follow the directions provided when giving any medicine to children, including these products.

    Immune System Reaction

    An allergy is the body’s reaction to a specific substance, or allergen. Our immune system responds to the invading allergen by releasing histamine and other chemicals that typically trigger symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, eyes, skin, or stomach lining.

    In some children, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma—a disease that causes wheezing or difficulty breathing. If a kid has allergies and asthma, “not controlling the allergies can make asthma worse,” says Anthony Durmowicz, M.D., a pediatric pulmonary doctor at the FDA.

    Avoid Pollen, Mold and Other Allergy Triggers

    If your kid has seasonal allergies, pay attention to pollen counts and attempt to hold your kid inside when the levels are high.

    1. In the tardy summer and early drop, during ragweed pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the morning.
    2. In the spring and summer, during the grass pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the evening.
    3. Some molds, another allergy trigger, may also be seasonal.

      For example, leaf mold is more common in the fall.

    4. Sunny, windy days can be especially troublesome for pollen allergy sufferers.

    It may also assist to hold windows closed in your home and car and run the air conditioner.

    Allergy Medicines for Children

    For most children, symptoms may be controlled by avoiding the allergen, if known, and using OTC medicines. But if a child’s symptoms are persistent and not relieved by OTC medicines, see a health care professional.

    Although some allergy medicines are approved for use in children as young as 6 months, the FDA cautions that simply because a product’s box says that it is intended for children does not mean it is intended for children of every ages.

    Always read the label to make certain the product is correct for your child’s age.

    When your kid is taking more than one medication, read the label to be certain that the athletic ingredients aren’t the same. Although the large print may tell the product is to treat a certain symptom, diverse products may own the same medicine (active ingredient). It might seem that you are buying diverse products to treat diverse symptoms, but in fact the same medicine could be in every the products. The result: You might accidently be giving too much of one type of medicine to your child.

    Children are more sensitive than adults to numerous drugs. For example, some antihistamines can own adverse effects at lower doses on young patients, causing excitability or excessive drowsiness.

    Allergy Shots and Children

    Jay E.

    Slater, M.D., a pediatric allergist at the FDA, says that children who don’t reply to either OTC or prescription medications, or who suffer from frequent complications of allergic rhinitis, may be candidates for allergen immunotherapy—commonly known as allergy shots.

    After allergy testing, typically by skin testing to detect what allergens your kid may react to, a health care professional injects the kid with “extracts”—small amounts of the allergens that trigger a reaction. The doses are gradually increased so that the body builds up immunity to these allergens.

    Allergen extracts are manufactured from natural substances, such as pollens, insect venoms, animal hair, and foods. More than 1, extracts are licensed by the FDA.

    In , the FDA approved three new immunotherapy products that are taken under the tongue for treatment of hay fever caused by certain pollens, two of them for use in children.

    What is the best over the counter allergy medicine for seasonal allergies

    Every of them are intended for daily use, before and during the pollen season. They are not meant for immediate symptom relief. Although they are intended for at-home use, these are prescription medications, and first doses are taken in the presence of a health care provider. The products are Oralair, Grastek, and Ragwitek (which is approved for use in adults only).

    In , the FDA approved Odactra, the first immunotherapy product istered under the tongue for treatment of home dust mite induced allergic rhinitis (nasal inflammation) with or without conjunctivitis (eye inflammation).

    Odactra is approved for use only in adults.

    “Allergy shots are never appropriate for food allergies,” adds Slater, “but it’s common to use extracts to test for food allergies so the kid can avoid those foods.”

    “In the final 20 years, there has been a remarkable transformation in allergy treatments,” says Slater. “Kids used to be miserable for months out of the year, and drugs made them incredibly sleepy. But today’s products offer proven approaches for relief of seasonal allergy symptoms.”

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