Seasonal and environmental allergies are an uncomfortable reality for many people. Unfortunately, many antihistamines and decongestants can cause drowsiness, making them a poor choice for daytime use. The right medications and coping strategies can keep you at your best in the battle against watery eyes, a runny nose and other allergy symptoms.
Seasonal and environmental allergies can cause sneezing, congestion, sore throat, coughing, eye irritation and sinus discomfort year round, depending upon your allergies. Common allergens include pollen, mold, dust, mites, pets and secondhand smoke. Avoidance and prevention can reduce allergy symptoms, but many people require treatment to keep allergic reactions under control.
Allergy symptoms arise from the body’s histamine reaction to an allergen. Medications can reduce this immune response to allergens and reduce or eliminate symptoms. Prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines are available, some designed for daytime use. Newer drugs have fewer side effects and are less apt to cause drowsiness, according to WebMD. You may also need to consider decongestants, which reduce blood flow to the mucus membranes in the nose to reduce congestion and nasal swelling. You can opt for a systemic decongestant like pseudoephedrine or a decongestant nasal spray.
You may be able to improve your overall health and reduce allergy symptoms with regular nasal irrigation. Nasal irrigation requires a bulb syringe or neti pot and saline solution. Hold your head over a sink and pour saline into one nostril, allowing it to flow out the other nostril. Breathe through your mouth, then repeat for the other nostril. Nasal irrigation can remove allergens from your sinus cavity, washing them away, reports WebMD.
Many allergy symptoms can be reduced by making changes in your workplace or home environment. Maintain your home and office at 68 to 72 degrees and 40 to 50 percent humidity, recommends MedicineNet.com. Change filters on your heating and cooling system frequently, and consider installing HEPA or high-efficiency particle air-filter systems in your home to reduce the overall allergen load. If you have outdoor allergies, keep windows closed and stay indoors during peak allergy times.
While over-the-counter allergy medications can manage mild to moderate allergies, your healthcare provider may be able to help you manage your allergies with different medications or find options that reduce side effects, particularly during the day. If you start a new medication, particularly if it’s a systemic option as opposed to a nasal spray or eye drops, allow time to make sure it does not induce drowsiness.