If you suffer from allergies – seasonal or year-round – then you understand how much of an impact allergy symptoms have on everyday life. With several allergy medications available, however, there is no need to suffer through allergy season with the misery of congestion, a runny nose, itchy eyes and burning throat. Read on to learn more about how to take allergy medicine to get the results you want.
4 Anti-Allergy Best-Practices: How to Take Allergy Medicine
1. Know Your Allergy Season
All types of allergy medications work best when used to prevent symptoms. If you have seasonal allergies and know when your allergy season begins, you should start taking allergy medicine a week or two before your particular allergens start to rise in the environment.
If you are allergic to pollen or mold, you will experience the best results if you start taking allergy medication before the pollen count rises or the rain begins.
2. Work with Your Body’s Natural Rhythm
The body operates on a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. As a result, different processes take place in the body at different times of the day, and different medications will work better or worse when administered at different times of the day.
Most pill-form allergy medications reach their peak effectiveness about 12 hours after taken, with the most severe allergy symptoms commonly occurring in the morning. As a result, these allergy medicines are most effective when taken in the evening. All types of allergy medicines (including pills, drops and sprays) work the best to prevent symptoms, so they should be administered before symptom onset.
3. Start with Regular Strength
Since many allergy medications are available without a prescription and without first talking to a doctor, it is easy to end up taking more than you need. You should always take the least amount of a medication that you still find to be effective. Try a regular strength formula first.
If you still experience symptoms, then consider switching over to an extra strength allergy medicine.
4. Read Medication Ingredients
Since taken as a preventative measure, most antihistamine allergy medications are designed to be taken regularly throughout an individual’s allergy season. In case you need support with being consistent with pill-taking every day, there are several options from the humble smartphone alarm clock to the sophisticated smart pill tracker.
It is worth noting that if your preferred allergy medicine, however, contains a decongestant, you should refrain from using it more than three or four days in a row. When decongestants are used regularly, individuals sometimes experience rebound symptoms when they stop using the medication.
An allergy medication with decongestant and antihistamine can actually make symptoms worse, if used too many days in a row.
Ask an Allergist
With many over the counter allergy medications available, many individuals with allergies do not get the best treatment or the help they really need. If you find that your eyes itch, your nose runs and your throat burns even with over the counter medications, you should consider speaking with your doctor or scheduling an appointment with an allergy specialist. A professional can help you definitively determine to which allergens you are sensitive and prescribe the best treatment plan possible.
It is also a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new medication (even those available without a prescription) to ensure you avoid any potential reactions or interactions with your current medications. Your doctor can also tell you more about how to take allergy medicine.