3 Types Of Over-The-Counter Medications You Can Use To Ease Allergy Symptoms

Most people think of allergy medications as something they need to have prescribed by their doctor. It is true that for patients with severe allergies, prescription medications are often necessary for significant relief. However, if you have mild to moderate allergies, or if you're not able to get into the doctor for a prescription right now, there are over-the-counter meds you can use to manage your symptoms. Here's a look at some of them.


Antihistamine medications work by counteracting histamines, which are chemical modulators that your body secretes that lead to allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, and runny eyes. There are several antihistamine medications available over the counter. Some have drowsiness as a side effect, and others do not, so you should read the label carefully before buying. If you want to be alert during the day, taking an antihistamine that causes drowsiness is not ideal, but these meds can be really helpful if your allergy symptoms are keeping you from sleeping at night. You typically need to take them every six to eight hours, although there are some non-drowsy antihistamines that last 24 hours.


Do your allergies primarily make you feel stuffy and congested? Then you may benefit from taking a nasal decongestant medication. These work by loosening and thinning out your mucous. You may find your nose running a bit after you take a decongestant, but this will only last a little while and is necessary for relief. Make sure you buy a decongestant that does not also contain a cough suppressant — those are really better suited for people with colds.


NSAIDs are best known for their ability to relieve pain. But NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. As such, these meds also alleviate inflammation. The histamines that cause allergy symptoms also cause a lot of structures in your body to become inflamed. Inflammation is at the heart of eye irritation and nasal congestion, for example. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce this inflammation and give you some comfort. NSAIDS alone won't always fully alleviate your allergy symptoms, but they can enhance the effects of a mild antihistamine or decongestant. You can even find pre-formulated medications that contain an antihistamine and an NSAID.

The next time allergies are bugging you, reach for one of these over-the-counter allergy treatments. If you do not experience relief, then reach out to your doctor for more advice or a prescription for a stronger medication.