Are there any other allergy medications available?

In addition to the more common approaches to treating nasal allergies, such as antihistamines or decongestants, there are several other medications you can discuss with your doctor.

Intranasal Anticholinergics

A prescription nasal spray that is effective in treating a runny nose, ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) prevents nasal secretions such as mucus. This prevents swelling and congestion. Side effects are usually minimal and include nasal dryness and nosebleeds.

Saline Nasal Sprays

A safe and inexpensive alternative if you have year-round nasal inflammation is salt-water, or saline, nasal spray. It helps unclog a stuffy nose and relieve sneezing and congestion. The saline also has a soothing effect.

Saline nasal sprays have no side effects, no matter how long you use them. You can find them at pharmacies or make your own by combining 1/4 teaspoon table salt, a pinch of baking soda, and 8 ounces of room-temperature water.

Drop or spray the solution into your nose with an eyedropper or bulb syringe. Because homemade nasal solutions contain no preservatives, be sure to discard any left after 24 hours. See the chart below for saline nasal sprays you can buy over the counter.

Solution strength Brand name
Sodium chloride 0.65% Ayr Saline, Ocean Mist, NaSal
Sodium chloride 0.4% Salinex

Eye Drops

Red, swollen, itchy eyes can be one of the most annoying nasal allergy symptoms. The more they itch, the more you rub. The more you rub, the more allergen you deposit into your eyes, and the more you irritate already-irritated eye tissues.

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The first step in treating itchy, allergic eyes is to stop rubbing and scratching. Try soothing your irritated eyes with cool compresses, such as a damp washcloth. Or flush out your eyes with cool water. This helps remove allergens and soothes your eyes.

Artificial tears, eye lubricants available over the counter in pharmacies, can also help. These coat and protect the mucous membranes, helping them retain moisture and protecting them from irritants. These mild eye drops rarely cause side effects.

Several prescription medications, such as eye drops containing antihistamines and anti-inflammatories, are also available. If your eyes continue to bother you, discuss these medications with your doctor.

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