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How to Differentiate and Treat Allergies Causing Itchy Eyes, Sneezing, and Nasal Congestion

by on May 15, 2014 >> No Comments
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Allergic reaction

It’s that time of year again – allergy season! The pollens are out in full force causing Itchy, uncomfortable eyes along with sneezing, sniffling, and nasal congestion. But is the allergic reaction you are experiencing caused by pollens? Or something else? Let’s take a look at ways to differentiate them:

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies such as hay fever in the spring or ragweed in late summer and fall are caused from grasses, trees, and weeds, as well as spores from molds that are emanated in the air. When your body comes into contact with these types of allergies, it produces chemicals called histamines, so anti-histamines drops were developed to go against these chemicals and eradicate them. For nasal congestion, antihistamine drugs are combined with decongestants to help free nasal passage. Antihistamine treatments are very effective; however, prolonged use may cause side effects especially the nasal sprays which eat at the nasal passage creating thinning.

Perennial Allergies

Perennial allergies, as the name suggests, are those existing throughout the year. They mostly occur as a result of exposure to dust mites, feathers in bedding or clothing, pet dander, and insect stings. These allergies can also occur from substances such as smoke, air pollution, cosmetics, perfumes, and certain medicines like glaucoma drops.

Household products such as soaps, cosmetics, or other chemicals may be accidentally transferred to the eyes causing an allergic reaction. When this is the case, you should thoroughly flush your eyes with fresh, running water, and depending on the type of household chemical and the amount that enters your eye(s), your doctor should be consulted immediately following thorough rinsing.

It may be easier to tell what is causing an allergy; for example, if symptoms strike when you are in the presence of trees such as oak, birch, or maple, or when you go outside on a windy, high-pollen-count day. Also, if you are in the company of pet animals or wearing or wrapped in feathers that you are not use to doing, then it’s easy to identify and address the allergen. On the other hand, if you are not in any of the abovementioned situations and are uncertain of the source of your allergy, you should definitely contact your doctor.

Some over-the-counter antihistamine drugs are: Allegra (fexofenadine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratadine), and Zyrtec (certirizine).

Some antihistamine drugs requiring prescription are: Astelin Nasal Spray (azelastine), Clarinex (desloratadine), Emadine (eyedrops), Optivar (azelastine), and Xyzal (levocetirizine).

Like many drugs, side effects can occur from using antihistamine products. Some side effects are: dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, restlessness – especially in children, and moodiness. The side effects are usually listed on the product container, but you can always do your research to learn more about a contemplated product before purchasing and using it. There should also be warnings listed on the product container, against taking it while you are pregnant for example, or have any of a number of health problems. For this reason, it is always a great idea to consult with your physician prior to taking any drugs.

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