TO­DAY’S BEST AL­LERGY TREAT­MENTS

Knock your symp­toms out be­fore they drag you down.

Men's Health (South Africa) - - HEALTH -

PILLS

An­ti­his­tamine pills are a start­ing point. “If your symp­toms are mild and in­ter­mit­tent, then an­ti­his­tamines work pretty well, par­tic­u­larly for sneez­ing, itch­ing, and runny nose,” says Dr Wil­liam Reisacher, di­rec­tor of al­lergy ser­vices at Weill Cor­nell Medicine. How­ever, these meds tend to lose their ef­fec­tive­ness over time, so don’t use them con­sis­tently for longer than two months. When peo­ple stay on an­ti­his­tamines too long, their symp­toms can re­bound.

NASAL SPRAY

If your symp­toms linger or are severe, try nasal spray. An­ti­his­tamine sprays beat the pill ver­sion. Cor­ti­cos­teroid nasal sprays con­tain­ing flu­ti­ca­s­one curb in­flam­ma­tion. Or go dou­ble duty: “The most ef­fec­tive sin­gle med is a com­bi­na­tion of aze­las­tine (an an­ti­his­tamine) and flu­ti­ca­s­one (a top­i­cal steroid) in a nasal spray,” says Dr Harold Nel­son, a pro­fes­sor of medicine at Na­tional Jewish Health in the US. It’s avail­able by pre­scrip­tion only.

EYE­DROPS If your eyes are un­bear­ably itchy, con­sider an­ti­his­tamine eye­drops. You can buy over- the- counter ver­sions (which are ap­plied twice daily), or your eye doc­tor can pre­scribe a once- a- day ver­sion. “Of­ten I rec­om­mend that peo­ple start a week or two be­fore the al­lergy ex­po­sure is ex­pected, and con­tinue through­out the al­lergy sea­son un­til af­ter the sea­son ends,” says Dr Lorne Yud­cov­itch of the Pa­cific Univer­sity Col­lege of Op­tom­e­try.

IM­MUNOTHER­APY

If your al­ler­gies are bad, im­munother­apy might help. An al­ler­gist does blood or skin- prick test­ing to de­ter­mine your al­lergy trig­gers; then a for­mula that con­tains tiny doses of your al­ler­gens is placed un­der your tongue or in­jected. “Im­munother­apy is a way of mak­ing you less al­ler­gic to the agent you’re sen­si­tive to,” says Dr Eli Meltzer of the Al­lergy & Asthma Med­i­cal Group and Re­search Cen­tre in San Diego. You’ll need reg­u­lar treat­ments for a few years, but they could well be worth it.

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