What medication to take for seasonal allergies

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  1. swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
  2. tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
  3. wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
  4. a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  5. itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
  6. sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
  7. dry, red and cracked skin

The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.

For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.

See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.

Read more about diagnosing allergies.


Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

There’s no contesting that allergy season is annoying AF.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

You’re supposed to *finally* be running exterior again or picnicking in the park, but instead, you’re stuck inside trying (key word) to breathe through snot and see through watery, itchy eyes.

And if it feels love your allergies own gotten worse the final few years, you’re not incorrect.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

After a consistent increase in the intensity and length of allergy season over the final several years (you can blame climate change), allergy season 2020 will likely be worse than usual or potentially the most intense and longest yet if the trend continues. Whomp, whomp.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

Allergy symptoms—those watery eyes and stuffy nose, along with sneezing fits, coughing, wheezing, and hive- or eczema-like rashes—happen when your immune system essentially freaks out over an otherwise harmless substance (like pollen). Delightful, huh?

But even if the above symptoms sound every too familiar, there is excellent news: You can fight back against allergies—and the sooner you get started the better. That means knowing when exactly allergy season will start this year, and how to prep your body for any allergen invaders.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies


Immunotherapy (desensitisation) 

Immunotherapy may be an option for a little number of people with certain severe and persistent allergies who are unable to control their symptoms using the measures above.

The treatment involves being given occasional little doses of the allergen, either as an injection, or as drops or tablets under the tongue, over the course of several years.

The injection can only be performed in a specialist clinic under the supervision of a doctor, as there’s a little risk of a severe reaction.

The drops or tablets can generally be taken at home.

The purpose of treatment is to help your body get used to the allergen so it does not react to it so severely.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

This will not necessarily cure your allergy, but it’ll make it milder and mean you can take less medicine.


Treating specific allergic conditions

Use the links under to discover information about how specific allergies and related conditions are treated:

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually develop within a few minutes of being exposed to something you’re allergic to, although occasionally they can develop gradually over a few hours.

Although allergic reactions can be a nuisance and hamper your normal activities, most are mild.

Very occasionally, a severe reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.


Avoiding exposure to allergens

The best way to hold your symptoms under control is often to avoid the things you’re allergic to, although this is not always practical.

For example, you may be capable to help manage:

  1. mould allergies by keeping your home dry and well-ventilated, and dealing with any damp and condensation
  2. hay fever by staying indoors and avoiding grassy areas when the pollen count is high
  3. animal allergies by keeping pets exterior as much as possible and washing them regularly
  4. food allergies by being careful about what you eat
  5. dust mite allergies by using allergy-proof duvets and pillows, and fitting wooden floors rather than carpets


Treating severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.

If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical assist.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

Find out more about treating anaphylaxis


Allergy medicines

Medicines for mild allergies are available from pharmacies without a prescription.

But always enquire a pharmacist or GP for advice before starting any new medicine, as they’re not suitable for everyone.

Lotions and creams

Red and itchy skin caused by an allergic reaction can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter creams and lotions, such as:

  1. calamine lotion to reduce itchiness
  2. moisturising creams (emollients) to hold the skin moist and protect it from allergens
  3. steroids to reduce inflammation

Decongestants

Decongestants can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose caused by an allergic reaction.

They can be taken as tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids.

Do not use them for more than a week at a time, as using them for endless periods can make your symptoms worse.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are the main medicines for allergies.

They can be used:

  1. as and when you notice the symptoms of an allergic reaction
  2. to prevent allergic reactions – for example, you may take them in the morning if you own hay fever and you know the pollen count is high that day

Antihistamines can be taken as tablets, capsules, creams, liquids, eye drops or nasal sprays, depending on which part of your body is affected by your allergy.

Steroids

Steroid medicines can assist reduce inflammation caused by an allergic reaction.

What medication to take for seasonal allergies

They’re available as:

Sprays, drops and feeble steroid creams are available without a prescription.

Stronger creams, inhalers and tablets are available on prescription from a GP.


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