Allergy season: Which product? When to take?

Oh allergy season is upon us.  If you haven’t already started an allergy pill, hurry on up down to the Piggly Wiggly and pick up a bottle, box, or carton.  Today.  To-day.  I know the ads show allergy sufferers dancing through fields of hay fever and snuggling next to Fluffy the super-furry long-haired white cat.  Apparently, the drug companies want you to believe their allergy medication works “in as little as 30 minutes”.

Okay, people, here’s the truth.  If you want the best allergy coverage, start taking allergy medication about two weeks before your allergy season begins.  Spring allergies?  Then start no later than March 1st.  Late summer?  Start July 1st.  Fall?  Start September 1st.  Now remember my disclaimer, my comments are not meant for everyone and not intended to replace the advice of your health care provider.  However, in general, it takes about two weeks for allergy medication to seat itself in your system and cover most of the symptoms.  You know, the runny nose, watery eyes, itchy ears, and throat.  While you can get relief quickly, full coverage relief is best achieved after two weeks.  That means heavenly 24 hour relief.

Here’s a pearl I’ve learned which may or may not apply to you.  For indoor allergies, I’ve found Claritin works fairly well.  Yes, it will work on outdoor allergies, too.  But it sure does seem to cover indoor pretty well.  And, yes, the store brand is fine for most people although some patients don’t do as well with the binding ingredients.  You will have to decide that for yourself.  For outdoor allergies, Zyrtec covers fairly well.  For most people, taking allergy medication at night is a pretty good idea because it can make you tired.  Relief from allergies and a good night’s rest.  Not bad.  Allegra is also a good alternative.  Patients ask about the stuff behind the counter, for example, Claritin-D.  The D is a decongestant.  In general, most people do not need it.  It is not very often, in fact, that the decongestant is necessary except in short-term periods.

If your ears are feeling “clogged” and popping or clicking, it’s often because they are not clearing properly.  It is often on the heels of a cold or allergy-related.  I’ll talk about that in my next post.  It’s something you can buy at the pharmacy as well.  So stay tuned….


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