Do cute little kittens make you think of tissues? Do you have to skip the seafood section on the restaurant menu? Does the change of seasons put your sinuses on strike?
If you’re a person with allergies, you know what a pain they can be. But by taking the right steps, you can get back in control. The key is to know what you’re allergic to, avoid triggers — and find the right treatments.
Most common allergy treatments: medication and immunotherapy (aka allergy shots).
Allergy symptoms happen when your body overreacts to normally harmless things by perceiving them as attackers. Allergy medicines work to interrupt that reaction, which can reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Antihistamines can help relieve runny noses, watery eyes, scratchy throats, sneezing and itching. Your allergist can help determine which option is best for you.
Decongestants help relieve nasal congestion. They’re available in nasal sprays or as pills or liquids. Use these only as directed to keep symptoms from coming back. Before taking a decongestant, clear it with your doctor.
Nasal steroid sprays can help with sneezing, an itchy, stuffy or runny nose. Because they can take up to two weeks to work, they’re not a fast fix. Instead, they have to be used on a regular basis. As with all medicines,
be sure and talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what’s right for you.
If your allergies can’t be controlled by medicines or trigger avoidance, your doctor may recommend allergy shots. Shots expose you to small doses of the allergen that bothers you. The goal is that over time your body will get used to it. The dose is gradually increased until your body can go the distance — with little or no reaction.
Allergy shots are not for everyone and they’re not a quick fix. Your doctor can help decide if they are a good choice for you.
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