Fact Finders: Allergy Relief

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 6:01 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -Pollen is everywhere right now. If you’re not feeling it, chances are it’s hounding many of your friends, family, and co-workers. The 13 News Fact Finders looked into the best treatments to make you less miserable.

Most newer-generation medications target the same receptors in about the same way. But all medications are not necessarily created exactly equal.

“People have different physiologies and chemistries,” said Dr. Mark Zaetta, a primary care physician with Optum - AZ. “For one person, one drug works better than another. There are different generations of these medications over the counter and I generally recommend a newer-branded drug. They have typically fewer side effects, like sedation and dryness, and less drug-to-drug interaction. Sometimes it’s a little trial and error to determine what product is best for you.”

Zaetta said using antihistamines every day while you have symptoms is okay. In fact, if your allergies are particularly bad, he recommends a combination of a nasal spray, like Flonase, and oral antihistamine. They work on different areas, in concert.

A word of caution about taking pseudoephedrine, the most common decongestant, along with your allergy medication. If your allergy pills have a “-D” at the end, that means they already have decongestant and you should not double up.

Most of us are familiar with Benadryl® (diphenhydramine). It is also an antihistamine, but not recommended for everyday allergies. It can be very sedating. In reference to the newer-generation drugs, users report Ceterizine, brand name Zyrtec®, is more likely to make you drowsy, however it’s also shown to be the fastest-acting. Allegra®, or Fexofenadine, is known to be the least sedating with fewer interactions.

For mild allergies, you might not even need drugs.

“Just a saline nasal spray so rinsing your nose on a regular basis - over the country sprays are very effective in cleaning out the nasal passages of pollen and irritants,” Zaetta said. He recommends seeing a doctor if your allergies are affecting your quality of life.

“You can be tested to determine exactly what irritant and allergen is affecting you and have a customized regimen created for you, whether shots or oral drops, that are very individualized to your specific problem. Yes, we’ve come that far,” Zaetta said.