How To Stop Allergies Fast: 5 Best Treatment Options
April 30, 2017 by Dr. Michael Jacobson, MD
How to Stop Allergies Fast: 5 Best Treatment Options
Allergies affect many of us each year, and we'll try anything to fight them, but many don't work. Learn how to stop allergies with the best treatment options.
Are you suffering from nasal stuffiness?
Are you having trouble reading this article because your eyes are red and irritated?
Did you just have to stop reading to sneeze?
You Are Not Alone
An overwhelming 8% of adults in the US suffer from Hay fever (allergic rhinitis). That's over 25 million people and over 11 million doctor's visits every year.
Those who have this condition know misery.
You have to stay indoors on beautiful spring days. You can't open your window when it's nice outside. You can't get too close to cute, cuddly kittens.
The itching, stuffiness, and sneezing can feel unbearable -- totally ruining your day.
But it's time to learn how to stop allergies in their tracks.
Let's look at the 5 most effective treatment options on the market in both OTC (over the counter) and from your doctor.
Over the Counter
Over-the-counter treatments are those that you can buy in the grocery store or drug store without a prescription.
They often cost less than those prescribed by your doctor but may have to be reduced strength to be offered over the counter.
If you need to know how to stop allergies without going to the doctor, the following are your best options.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamines.
Histamines are chemicals that your body produces naturally through its mast cells.
Mast cells reside in places where our insides come in contact with contaminants from the outside world.
These places include -
- Under our eyelids
They serve different functions like helping with digestion and preventing invaders from entering your system.
Some of us, however, have mast cells that overreact by producing too many histamines. They try to block every little particle of pollen, dust and pet dander.
In a person with a normal immune system, these particles are typically harmless.
But in someone with overactive mast cells, the result is sinus and nasal swelling, itching and runny nose.
Antihistamines come in 3 primary forms:
- Nasal Sprays
- Eye Drops
Antihistamines come in 3 primary forms:
- Nasal Sprays
- Eye Drops
One should always be careful when taking antihistamines. They can make you very drowsy.
You'll commonly see the warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery.
Some people are affected more heavily than others. For this reason, antihistamines aren't a viable solution for everyone.
You also need to know how to stop allergies once your nose is swollen. Once this happens nasal antihistamines are less effective.
When you're having an allergic reaction the blood vessels in you nose swell.
Decongestants work by reducing the size of blood vessels in the nose.
Decongestants come in :
- Nose sprays
- Nose drops
Overusing decongestant nose sprays can be dangerous. Research shows that individuals who use them for extended periods of time will become dependent.
Just like addiction to any drug, once you become dependent, you will need to continually increase dosage to feel normal.
You'll find this method very uncomfortable and perhaps gross, but research shows that it works.
Also called neti pot or sinus irrigation, in this treatment you:
- Bring a saline solution to boil and then allow it to cool to warm.
- Tilt your head to the side over the sink.
- With a specially designed applicator, you pour sterile pre-mixed saline solution into one nostril and allow it to run out the other into the sink.
This method removes pollen, dander, mucus and pus that may be building up in your nose and sinuses. But it can cause significant dryness in your nose.
At Your Doctor
Many allergy sufferers find that over the counter remedies either don't work or stop working as well. These people need to see a doctor to get relief.
Treatment will likely be covered by insurance. Let's look at how to stop allergies by seeing a doctor.
The idea behind immunotherapy is that when your immune system is exposed to small amounts of a contaminant, it develops an immunity.
Immunotherapy desensitizes you to the pollen or dander that is causing the adverse reaction.
Immunotherapy can be administered either through:
- Injections just under the surface of your skin, the subcutaneous layer
- A tablet that dissolves under your tongue, sublingual
Immunotherapy is often effective for those who don't get relief from antihistamines and decongestants.
For those with severe allergies, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids work by reducing the inflammation caused by the allergic reaction. They make you feel a lot better.
But corticosteroids can only be taken for a short time because they do have some serious side effects if taken long term.
- Increased risk of infections
- Unstable blood sugar
- Thinning of the skin
- Thinning of the bones.
This sounds terrible, but taking them short term under the supervision of a doctor is relatively safe.
It's how to stop allergies that are severe but intermittent in nature.
This is a relativity non-invasive sinus procedure that requires no cutting or removal of tissue.
- Inserts a small flexible balloon into your sinus cavity.
- Inflates the balloon to expand the cavity
- Sprays saline in to flush out mucus and pus
- Removes the apparatus, leaving the sinus free and clear
The procedure flushes out the contaminants and bodily fluids that are causing pain and discomfort while safely expanding the sinus so that it can work more effectively.
This procedure can alleviate many sinus problems.
How to Stop Allergies Now
If you're not getting relief from over the counter allergy remedies, it's time to see the doctor to discuss treatment options.
Schedule an appointment with our compassionate and skilled ENT - Allergy Specialists.
With locations in Hampton, Williamsburg, Gloucester and Newport News, VA, we're conveniently located and ready to show you how to stop allergies fast.
Testing and Treatment at Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy
Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy has a roster of professional providers and specialists can help you pinpoint your allergy problems.
An ENT Allergy specialist can help you determine if balloon sinuplasty is right for you.
Click Here to set an appointment with one of our providers.
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About The Author
Dr. Michael Jacobson, MD
Dr. Michael Jacobson, MD is an otolaryngologist with Hampton Roads ENT - Allergy in both Gloucester, VA & Williamsburg, VA.
I particularly enjoy treating pediatric patients as well as helping those with nasal and sinus issues. Some of my most rewarding work has been helping those facing the challenge of a new cancer diagnosis. As your doctor, I will work with you to understand your ENT concerns and to develop a personalized treatment plan.