Although prevention comes first, medication may be needed if symptoms persist or allergen exposure is unavoidable. Allergies are most commonly treated with antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays.
Antihistamines work by preventing the release of histamine. Traditional, older antihistamines cause many side effects including drowsiness, dry mouth and difficulty urinating. Newer antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal produce far fewer. Decongestants help decrease congestion in the nose by their action on blood vessels. Side effects include increased blood pressure, sleeplessness and irritability. * Topical decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for three or four days in a row or rebound congestion of the nasal passages may occur.* Nasal sprays recommended by allergists and other physicians for the treatment of allergies contain steroid, antihistamine and anticholinergic medications and generally may be used indefinitely.