Symptoms vary in severity and may be worse some years, depending on the weather conditions and pollen count. The time of year your symptoms start will depend on the types of pollen you're allergic to.
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Medicine in the form of tablets or pills are very effective at relieving the stuffy, sneezing and congested symtpoms that surrounds hay fever. They are also available in liquid form, called antihistamines. More than one in three sufferers use steroid nasal spray.
If your symptoms are not improving with the treatment you are receiving, it is important to get advice from a medical professional. Allowing breathing problems to continue has been associated with the development of asthma. Your health care practitioner can help you select the right hay fever tablets, pills or other form of medicine.
What Are Antihistamines?
Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, which is a chemical the body releases after it is exposed to pollen. Histamine is kept in certain cells of the body known as "mast cells". In an allergic reaction, those cells let histamine leak into the blood, which causes inflammation. Antihistamine is a chemical that blocks the action of histamine at receptors in the skin, nose and blood vessels.
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Are Antihistamines Safe?
Antihistamines are effective, but come with the price of feeling sleepy. They could potentially lead to an accident if you do not take precaution, as well as lead to an accident with work machinery. Take the same precautions as you would if you were taking sleeping tablets.
New antihistamines are available which do not cause drowsiness. These include cetirizine, fexofenadine and loratadine (in tablet form) as well as azelastine in spray form. These types should not cause sleepiness, though some still experience this reaction when taking. Your pharmacist or prescribing doctor can advise you of further differences.
Antihistamines are available over-the-counter without prescription. People who have these symptoms should regularly take tablets, or nasal sprays. They generally have a good record of being safe. They are more effective if you begin taking them before the season starts.
If you know that you are vulnerable, and you understand you are about to enter an area thick with pollen, or the season is upon you, feel free to begin taking medicine even before symptoms occur. This will give you the best opportunity to resist the breathing problems associated with the condition.
If you are using steroid nasal spray, it is a common occurrence that people who use these devices use them improperly. To get the most out of your spray, tip your head forward (not backward), and look down while inserting the nozzle. Spray toward the outside of your nose. Use seawater nasal spray to clean passages and wash out the mucus from blocked sinuses. This can provide temporary relief and condition your nose for the treatment.
If you have moderate or severe symptoms, sprays containing steroids with antihistamine can be prescribed by your GP. Additional drugs are available that are prescription strength for people who have severe seasonal asthma or hay fever. Try to avoid decongestants, as they may be initially useful, but often cause a condition called "rebound congestion" which can actually make your symptoms worse. Contact your doctor for advice on moderate to severe breathing problems.