- 10 Common Allergy Triggers Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Quiz on Allergies
- Nasal Allergy Relief Products Slideshow
- Nasal allergy medication facts
- Nasal allergy (allergic rhinitis) medication introduction
- Nasal allergy symptoms: an overview of treatments
- What's the difference between a controller and a reliever?
- What are antihistamines?
- How do antihistamines work?
- What are common side effects of antihistamines?
- What are decongestants?
- How do decongestants work?
- When should I use topical decongestants?
- What are side effects of decongestants?
- What about combination antihistamine/decongestant preparations?
- Nasal steroid sprays
- Other nasal sprays that might help
- Tips for proper use of nasal sprays
Nasal allergy symptoms: an overview of treatments
This is a simplified overview of nasal allergy symptoms and the treatment(s) used to reduce or stop these symptoms.
|Sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose/throat||Antihistamine|
|Combinations of sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose/throat, and stuffy nose||Antihistamine plus a decongestant. For more severe symptoms, steroids, cromolyn (Intal, Opticrom, Gastrocrom), or anticholinergic agents may be added.|
The above table simply shows the overview of treatments; the following sections provide additional information about these treatment types and helps explain some of the details about these treatments.
What's the difference between a controller and a reliever?
Throughout this section on nasal allergy management, the various treatments will be referred to as "controllers" or "relievers" of symptoms. Controllers are used to prevent symptoms by interfering with the underlying causes of the inflammatory response or the actions of chemical mediators. Examples of controllers include:
- Drugs that block the attachment of histamine to special receptors on cells (antihistamines)
- Drugs that prevent mast cells from releasing chemicals (cromolyn)
- Drugs that prevent or reduce inflammation that arises from an allergic reaction (steroids)
Other medications, called relievers, are used to alleviate symptoms without affecting the inflammation. They are also called "rescue" medications and in general provide only temporary relief. Relievers should only be used alone for mild or intermittent symptoms. Examples include:
- Drugs that narrow (constrict) the blood vessels in the nasal membranes, thereby helping "shrink" swollen tissues and relieve congestion (decongestants)
- Drugs that reduce mucous production by blocking the nerve supply to the mucous glands (anticholinergics)
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