The sneeze is an explosive wave of air that forces its way through the mouth at 30-40 miles an hour. Emitted droplets are shot out 10-20 feet into the surroundings. The cause is an irritant that tickles the nasal passages. Our body attempts to rid our respiratory tract of anything it considers foreign. This reaction to the irritant action is called a sneeze.
Ragweed is prevalent this time of year. Almost 1/3 of us in the US are allergic to this and other pollens causing allergic reactions. These symptoms may include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, runny nose and sore throat. There may also be dark circles under the eyes (due to increased blood flow around the sinuses), stuffy nose and itchy eyes.
So what can the affected allergy sufferer do?
The simplest answer are antihistamines which are non-prescription solutions for symptomatic allergy resolution. These drugs work by blocking the release of histamine therefore lessening allergic symptoms.
Strongest and most sedating diphenhydramine (Benadryl™) is the one to use before bedtime. The beneficial effects last 4-6 hours. It may cause severe drowsiness, relieve coughing and lessening all the allergic symptoms except sinus congestion.
To relieve the congestion component of the allergic response, psuedoephedrine (Sudafed™) is available behind the counter. You will need a current valid form of ID with a picture such as your Driver’s License. Reason being that this ingredient is used in the production of illegal amphetamine medications. Side effects of decongestants like Sudafed™ are insomnia, excitability and a racing heart.
The other most common available OTC (over-the-counter/without a prescription) antihistamines are Allegra™, loratadine (Claritin™) and cetirizine (Zyrtec™). These newer antihistamines don’t get into the brain and therefore cause very little drowsiness compared to diphenhydramine. One tablet lasts for up 24 hours worth of relief.
Disadvantages are that they are not as strong nor relief cough as readily as Benadryl™.
Another medication available without a prescription is Nasacort™. This steroidal nasal spray will relieve allergic symptoms including nasal congestion for up to a day. Safer and longer lasting than the other multitude of nasal decongestants available on the shelf. In addition, Nasacort™ doesn’t cause what’s known as rebound nasal congestion. Over spraying these non-steroid products cause the user to become addicted to this nasal solution. Stick with Nasacort™.
The pharmacy shelves also feature Nasalcrom™ in the cough and cold section. This nasal spray is made from the chrysanthemum flower. It gets to the root of the allergy problem by preventing the initial release of histamine. Whereas all the other antihistamine oral medications (Allegra™, Benadryl™, Claritin™ and Zyrtec™) aid in neutralizing some of the histamine after it has been already released into the body. Nasalcrom™ prevents the release of histamine from the mast cells. The product needs to be sprayed nasally four times daily. Like a decongestant, it also relieves congestion. Nasalcrom™ doesn’t cause drowsiness. This is the only preventative medication of the entire group of allergy medications.
There you have it. Solutions to your allergy problems. Please consult with a healthcare professional before using any of these medications. Follow specific package instructions when utilizing the product. Please read the labels kids.
Photo credit: nasacort.com
Photo credit: nasalcrom.com