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Seasonal Allergy. How to Relieve the Symptoms

Fall is the perfect time for walking in the neighborhood, hiking in the hills and gardening. However, it is also a season of ragweed – an invasive plant that is difficult to control. The plant has over 40 species worldwide and its pollen is a very common allergen. Among other plants that drop their pollen in autumn are mugworts, fat hens, nettles, plantains and sorrels. When an allergic person breaths in the pollen, his body releases chemicals that incite allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, itchy or watering eyes, sneezing, nasal blockage, headache, decreased sense of smell, coughing and fatigue.
Various treatments exist to improve seasonal allergies. They are prescribed according to the allergic response of an individual and include:
Antihistamines. These medications work by blocking the action of histamine, which the body releases in response to an allergen. One pill of oral antihistamines, such as Cetirizine, will relieve nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes for 12 hours.
Corticosteroids. Prescription steroid nose sprays help to reduce swelling, providing relief from nasal allergy symptoms. Steroid eye drops help to soothe the itchy or watery eyes that come with allergic conjunctivitis, providing relief from eye allergies.
Decongestants. Nasal sprays decongestants quickly reduce the inflammation in the lining of the nasal cavity. They are very helpful in reducing nasal stuffiness, but shouldn’t be used for more than 3 days as their overuse can create a rebound effect of constricting the nasal blood vessels.
Decongestants for oral use can also be helpful in relieving congestion in the upper respiratory tract. They reduce swelling, inflammation and formation of mucus, and are used to relieve symptoms of eye or nasal congestion. However, they may elevate heart rate and blood pressure, so check to make sure they are right for you.
Allergy shots. This is a long-term solution that consists of regular shots of the small amount of allergen with the aim to provoke an antibody response and help the body become desensitized to that allergen.

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