Spring means flower buds and blooming trees — and if you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal

allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. If you sneeze and cough, or your nose and eyes itch and are runny during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. Grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies.

Several types of nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. They include:

  • Oral antihistamines.Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
  • Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
  • Nasal sprays such as Nasacort, Flonase , NasalCrom and Rhinocort can ease allergy symptoms i.e. nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose and sneezing.
  • Combination medications. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).

Some over the counter medications can interact with your prescription medications, so always be sure to check with your physician or pharmacist to ensure safe and effective treatment.

As always, your Union Center Pharmacists are happy to answer your questions and provide guidance!

Happy Spring!

Michele Vercella, RPh, Union Center Pharmacy