Top Effective Treatments for Allergies

Allergies, often referred to medically as allergic diseases, characterize a group of conditions that are caused by a hypersensitive immune system. For instance, allergic reactions are the result of sensitivity to a specific substance, which triggers an immune system reaction. Common allergy triggers include:

  • Environmental triggers, such as weather, pollen, or hay fever.
  • Food allergies to nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, or wheat gluten.
  • Insect sting allergies, to bees or wasps.
  • Animal fur or dander allergies.
  • Household allergies, to  dust or molds.
  • Allergies to medications, like penicillin.
  • Respiratory allergies, exercise

When the body comes into contact with a triggering substance, an allergic reaction or histamine response occurs, which is what causes sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, red eyes and itchy throat, inflammation of the skin, hives or rash, constricted airways, and digestive system upsets.  or swelling of the airways, and in some cases anaphylaxis. While the best way to manage allergies is identifying and avoiding your triggers, other effective treatments may include:

1. Over the counter medications
The majority of minor or seasonal allergies can be treated without a prescription with an antihistamine or decongestant type medication recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. These are available in oral pills and oral spray, nasal sprays, and eye drops that lower histamine response and reduce allergy symptoms.

2. Corticosteroid creams
Topical corticosteroids are often prescribed to treat allergic dermatitis. These are applied topically and directly to red, inflamed skin and hives to reduce swelling, redness, and itchiness.

3. Saline nasal sprays and rinses
Saline nasal sprays and rinses are meant to open the airways and reduce allergy-related congestion.

4. Epinephrine
Patients who have experienced anaphylaxis, which is a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction, may be prescribed an emergency epinephrine shot (or EpiPen), which can be used when an allergic reaction occurs.  

5. Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is delivered in a series of injections that contain trace allergen extracts. These are administered to the patient on a regular schedule over a period of 2- to 5-years to reduce allergic response over time.