There are three main treatment options including:
- Various over-the-counter and prescription medications
- Desensitization (i.e. allergy shots) or other immunotherapy, a treatment course that helps your immune system learn not to overreact when allergens are present
- Non-medication options, such as avoiding the offending allergens and other lifestyle habit change
Some medications for allergic rhinitis are best used daily to control inflammation and prevent symptoms, while others are used only as needed to relieve symptoms. Nasal corticosteroid sprays can control inflammation and reduce all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuffiness. Antihistamines in the form of pills or nasal sprays block histamine and may relieve itching, sneezing and runny nose. But they may not be as effective in reducing nasal stuffiness. Anti-leukotrienes in the form of pills can reduce all the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can be used as needed if nasal stuffiness is not relieved with other medications. Decongestant sprays should not be used for long periods of time because they can cause your congestion to return. Ipratropium nasal spray can be used specifically for a runny nose.
Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, may be considered if your symptoms are constant, if you don’t want to take medications or feel that they are not enough, or if you want long-term control of your allergies with less need for medications. This treatment involves receiving injections periodically-as determined by your allergist-over a period of three to five years. The end result is decreased sensitivity to allergens.
Last updated : 2/10/2023