Cold and flu or hay fever is a common ailment which attacks everybody at one point or another in life. Before going to the GP, you can treat your hay fever by taking across the counter medicines like anti histamines. If this fails to improve your condition then only go to your general practitioner as you may require steroid medicines to treat yourself.
Antihistamines (corticosteroids) are taken for hay fever treatment. These corticosteroids work by blocking the chemical histamine which is released by the body when it is attacked by an allergen. This in turn prevents the occurrence of an allergic reaction. Antihistamines treat itching, sneezing and watery eyes effectively, but a nose block is not cleared. They are available in the form of a tablet or nasal sprays. Antihistamines can be taken as soon as you first notice the symptoms of developing hay fever. It can be taken as a preventive measure before leaving the house if you think that there is high pollen content in the air. A common antihisthamine spray is azelastine. These medicines do not cause drowsiness but if it occurs it is advisable to avoid driving, using tools or work with machines. You should consult your doctor who might suggest some alternative medicines.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops have an anti allergies effect, hence are used to treat hay fever. The nose gets inflamed that is triggered by an allergic reaction because of the pollen. Corticosteroids reduce this inflammation and helps in the allergy treatment. Your GP may prescribe the nasal spray or drops if hay fever lasts for a long time and does not respond to antihistamines. If you are pregnant or breast feeding and your main symptom is a blocked nose, sneezing and congestion then taking Corticosteroids will be more effective than antihistamine tablets. They provide relief to itchy and watery eyes and are more effective if taken two weeks in advance before the beginning of your symptoms.
It is very important to read the instructions carefully before taking any medication. If the sprays or drops are not used according to the dosage mentioned in the instruction, they can have side effects like irritation and dryness in the nose, bleeding in the nose, an unpleasant taste in the mouth and skin rash around the nose. Corticosteroids should not be taken for more than ten days as the more you take these tablets; the side effects are unpleasant like weight gain, and changes in mood.
Nasal decongestants in the form of a nasal spray taken for hay fever can reduce the swelling in the nose and open the nasal passage to make breathing easy. Nasal decongestants should not be used for more than 7 days as it may cause dryness and irritation in your nose and can make the congestion worse.
If you have hay fever symptoms that have affected your eyes like redness, itching and watering then you can treat it with eye drops which are available at a pharmacy. These drops contain cromoglicate which reduces the inflammation in your eyes.
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