Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable. But before you settle for plastic plants and artificial turf, there are things you can do to be able to smell the flowers again! Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
- Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy, others) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
- Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for short-term relief. Long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
- Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn't have serious side effects, though it's most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens. Wear a dust mask if you must do outside chores and remove clothes you've worn outside as well as shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Use the air conditioning in your house and car. If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
- Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier and use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom
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