Allergies are the worst. A runny, stuffy, nose. Itchy, watery, red eyes. Sneezing. Coughing. Sore throat. Hives. Allergies can interrupt your day, keep you up at night, and in general make you miserable. You don’t have to let allergies interfere with your life, though, because there are many medications that can help you manage your symptoms. It is possible to get through the day without pain from allergies. Here are five of the best over-the-counter medications for allergy sufferers.
Claritin 12-Hour RediTabs
Claritin is an antihistamine that helps to prevent allergy symptoms. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, like to pollen or ragweed, Claritin 12-Hour RediTabs are a good choice. Claritin 12-Hour RediTabs will take about 30 minutes or less to kick in, which is 30 minutes less than regular Claritin. You’ll be protected from allergy symptoms for up to 12 hours. Whenever possible, you should take Claritin before you experience symptoms, in order to prevent them altogether. The good thing about this product is that it doesn’t make you drowsy.
Sudafed Nasal Decongestant
Sudafed is an antihistamine that contains pseudoephedrine, which is very good at treating nasal congestion. If your nose is stuffy due to allergies, Sudafed is a good option for you. You can buy it over-the-counter, but you usually have to ask a pharmacist for it (it’s kept behind the counter but does not require a prescription). Sudafed is effective, but the pseudoephedrine can act as a stimulant for some people, making it difficult to sleep or creating a feeling of being on-edge or jittery. Because of this, don’t take Sudafed in the evening.
Afrin Nasal Spray
Afrin Nasal Spray is a product that can also help relieve a stuffy nose due to allergies. The good thing about it is that it works instantly. It’s very effective. If you prefer to use a nasal spray, Afrin is a great choice. You should not use it for more than three days in a row, however, because too much use can damage your nasal lining and lead to a dependence on the spray to decongest.
Visine-A is an eye drop that’s an antihistamine and a decongestant. If you have itchy, red eyes due to allergies, Visine-A will help clear things up. It will reduce or eliminate the itchiness and the redness. You should not use Visine-A for more than three days in a row, just like Afrin, because too much can irritate your eyes.
Benadryl Allergy is an antihistamine diphenhydramine; a fast-acting medication that works to relieve allergy symptoms quicker than other longer-lasting allergy medications like Claritin, although the effects will only last about four hours. Benadryl is great for treating sudden allergic reactions and hives. It can ease many allergy symptoms, but it often causes drowsiness. Because of this, it’s also a good product to use if your allergies are making it difficult for you to sleep at night, but it’s not a good choice for daily maintenance of allergies.
Dr. Susan Wright is a veterinarian and freelance writer. Dr. Wright shares advice about seasonal and pet related allergies and which allergy medicines are best to treat them.