Decongestants for Allergies

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The runny nose and thick cough associated with allergies cause discomfort. Dry, peeling skin around your nose and the constant nasal drip that allergies inflict can make you want to hide away until you recover. Fortunately, allergy sufferers don’t really have to suffer. Decongestants for allergies help relieve some of the worst allergic symptoms.


Allergens

Whether you have seasonal allergies or a reaction to something specific, such as mold or dust, your body’s immune system causes the symptoms. Allergies occur due to an overreaction. The immune system recognizes allergens as harmful invaders, even when they aren’t, and sends out histamines. The histamine release results in typical allergy symptoms, including irritated eyes, runny nose and sinus pressure.

Uses

Decongestants treat specific allergy symptoms and work quickly to provide relief. They won’t prevent an attack or work like an antihistamine, which curtails the body’s immune response. Decongestants help with runny nose, watery eyes and sinus drainage by reducing the swelling in the tissues. The treatments might also help with coughing caused by allergic reactions.

Options

Prescription medication, over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants and natural congestion relief can all help relieve your symptoms. You have options on how to use the medications, as well. Decongestants are available to take orally, as nasal sprays and in eye drops. Some medications have both decongestants and antihistamines to treat the symptoms and prevent histamine release. For natural relief, inhaled steam or essential oils might provide some relief.

Side Effects

Possible side effects may occur with any decongestant. Many OTC and prescription options contain pseudoephedrine, which causes the most common side effects of decongestants. You might experience insomnia, rapid heart rate, headaches, dizziness and anxiety. Decongestants for allergies can also cause increased blood pressure, tremors and irritability.

Precautions

You should always speak to your health care provider before taking any medication or remedy. If you take any other medications, speak to a pharmacist about possible interactions. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and anyone with heart conditions should avoid decongestant medicines unless under the close supervision of a physician. Extended use of decongestants can worsen symptoms, for example, nasal decongestants used longer than one week potentially causes rebound congestion.

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