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How to manage your allergy symptoms

There are more options for short- and long-term management of allergies than ever. An experienced allergist can help you develop a customized plan for controlling your symptoms, so you can live life to the fullest.

Over-the-counter antihistamines, which can help alleviate hay fever symptoms, are the most common medications. Long-acting or 24-hour oral antihistamines can help you manage your symptoms all day without feeling tired.

When oral antihistamines are not enough to control your allergies a nasal spray may be necessary. Nasal corticosteroids can specifically target the cells in your nose that are causing your allergy symptoms. Similarly, antihistamine eye drops can reduce watery, itchy eye symptoms. Some of these medications can be purchased over-the-counter while others must be prescribed by your allergy doctor.

If you suffer from environmental allergies to dust mites, pets, pollens, molds, and stinging insects, allergy immunotherapy—known as allergy shots or allergy tablets—is another option. Immunotherapy helps change your body’s reaction to an allergen so that you have fewer symptoms when you’re exposed.

With allergy shots, the most common immunotherapy method, you receive shots with increasing doses of your specific allergens over a number of years. Allergy shots must be given in your allergist’s office so you can be monitored closely for any reactions.

If you have a grass or dust mite allergy, sublingual immunotherapy, in which allergens are delivered via a tablet that dissolves under the tongue, is an option. Tablets are taken every day in your home, before and during the pollen season, to alter your immune response.

Before choosing any treatment options, be sure to consult with your allergist. Managing symptoms effectively requires an individualized plan and the ongoing support of an experienced physician.
To learn more, make an appointment with an allergist.

Dr. Carrie Caruthers is an Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Department specialist. She cares for patients of all ages, working with them to create an individualized care plan that allows them to function without limitations.