Advertisement

What can help treat allergies?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The two types of medications used to treat skin allergies—topical or oral medications—work in different ways. Most topical medications used for skin allergies contain steroids, which work by blocking certain immune responses that cause the skin to become inflamed and itchy. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a chemical that produces an allergic response.

There are lots of simple, do-at-home options for minimizing some of the most common potential side effects of allergy medications.

Your first step is to figure out whether what you're feeling is a side effect, or something else. For example, feeling drowsy or dehydrated might be due to an over-the-counter antihistamine—or it could simply be from salty foods or poor sleep. So pay attention to your behavior and get to know your own body. Do you know how many hours of sleep you normally need to feel refreshed? How many glasses of water you drink each day? Track your health behaviors in a diary so you can pinpoint what's normal for you and what's not. Here's a printable journal you can use to track all of your health information.

Here are some simple strategies for avoiding—or minimizing—some of the most common allergy medication side effects:

  • Hydrate your body. Keeping a water bottle handy and taking frequent sips can help counter a dry, sticky mouth—a potential side effect of some antihistamines. Gum or breath mints can help, too.
  • Hydrate your nasal passages. Did your decongestant work a little too well at drying up your stuffy nose? To remoisten your sinus passages, try using a nasal saline spray or a neti pot. A steamy shower or a humidifier can do the trick as well.
  • Hydrate your eyes. Putting a few lubricating eye drops into your peepers can help with dry eyes. Or lay a warm, wet washcloth across your eyes a couple of times a day.
  • Switch to another allergy medication. Are you taking first-generation antihistamines? Drowsiness is a common side effect. Ask your doctor about newer, second-generation antihistamines that have less of a sedating effect, and take antihistamines at bedtime, when drowsiness will be less of an issue and actually help you sleep. Also, a spray form of decongestant may cause less jitteriness than oral decongestants.

Using your medications correctly can also help minimize problems. For example, taking decongestant nasal sprays for longer than your doctor recommends may cause rebound stuffiness. Some allergy medications are contraindicated in people with certain health conditions. So follow doctor's orders.

Continue Learning about Allergies Treatments

Are There Alternative Therapies for Seasonal Allergies?
Are There Alternative Therapies for Seasonal Allergies?
How Can I Prevent a Stuffy Nose If I Have Allergies?
How Can I Prevent a Stuffy Nose If I Have Allergies?
Are Allergy Shots a Good Option If I Have Allergies?
Are Allergy Shots a Good Option If I Have Allergies?
How Can I Alleviate My Allergies?
How Can I Alleviate My Allergies?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.