Ask the Nurse

What are the best OTC medications for hay fever symptoms, mostly sneezing and cough?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is the allergic response to pollen. It causes inflammation and swelling of the lining of the nose, as well as the protective tissue of the eyes (conjunctiva). Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, itchy and watery eyes.

Treatment options include over-the-counter and prescription oral and topical medications. These medications include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Intranasal cromolyn
  • Intranasal steroids
  • Oral antileukotrienes
  • Oral decongestants

Among the most effective strategies to reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms is avoidance. Avoiding pollen exposure by staying indoors when pollen counts are high, closing windows and using air conditioning will help reduce symptoms. Avoidance of indoor allergens such as dust mites and mold spores entails measures to reduce indoor humidity. Dust mite exposure can also be reduced by mattress/box spring and pillow encasement, and washing all bedding in hot cycle frequently. Avoiding pets is a challenge for many patients, but can be a very important factor in improving symptoms of allergic rhinitis and/or asthma. When avoidance measures combined with regular use of medications is not effective, not feasible or not desirable, immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be considered.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

April 29, 2019 at 1:06pm