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Can decongestants relieve allergy symptoms?

If a stuffy, blocked-up nose is your primary allergy symptom, a decongestant may offer relief. These medicines work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose, which reduces swelling. Decongestants do not relieve sneezing, itching or a runny nose. Decongestants can be sprayed directly into the nose or taken orally as a pill.

Over-the-counter decongestants may be helpful in treating the stuffy noses that often go along with allergies. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are common oral over-the-counter decongestants. Some asthma medications can also be used to treat allergies, but they are generally not as effective as nasal steroids or antihistamines.

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