Other Allergy Medication

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

Intranasal Anticholinergics To Treat Nasal Allergies

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 To Treat Nasal Allergies

A safe and inexpensive alternative in treating nasal allergies 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 to Treat Allergy Symptoms

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

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Written by Karen Serrano, MD
Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008