OTC allergy meds

Spring is here and with it comes allergy season meaning the onset of symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, sinus pressure, and headaches.

Here are some over the counter options to help.

Non-drowsy antihistamines: Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal (newly released, the better half of Zyrtec).  Take these once a day to prior to exposure to the offending allergen to prevent the allergy symptoms.  These must be used every day to maximize effectiveness.  

Nasal corticosteroids: Flonase, Flonase Sensimist, Nasacort, Rhinocort.  Use these if you have nasal congestion or are still experiencing allergy symptoms after trying the antihistamines above.  Must be used every day to maximize effectiveness.

Nasal irrigation: Ocean nasal spray and the neti-pot.  Salt water moisturizes, loosen mucus and flushes out the nasal passages.  Neti-pot might look goofy but it works!  Do not use tap water with the Neti-pot.  There have been case reports of people contracting a brain eating amoeba from using their tap water!

Nasalcrom and Zaditor:  both contain Ketotifen which helps stop release of histamine resulting in decreased allergy symptoms.  Nasalcrom is a nasal spray and Zaditor is an eye drop.  Must be used regularly to be effective.

Decongestants: Sudafed, Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D, Afrin.  Anything containing pseudoephedrine is a great decongestant but there are regulations that have to be followed and precautions that have to be taken so consult with your local pharmacist.  Sudafed PE is garbage and is not recommended.  Afrin is only for short term use of 3-5 days max.  These can  be taken as needed to relieve congestion and sinus pressure.

Money saving tip: The store brand generic is just as good and CHEAPER so go that route to save money.  Manufacturers and stores often run sales and produce coupons during peak season too so keep a look out if you chose to buy the brand name.  You can also buy from Amazon to save so me money AND get the meds delivered right to your door.  Kirkland is a good generic money saving brand found on Amazon.