Everyone knows that April’s showers bring May flowers. But not everyone notices that April also sneaks in an annoying, pesky little thing as the seasons change: allergies. As the seasons shift from the winter months to spring, the pollen count typically increases. The increased pollen count, in addition to other allergens circulating in the atmosphere, have an increased chance of coming in contact with the cells lining our eyes, nose, throat and mouth. In turn, our bodies will attempt to fight off these foreign bodies, these perceived threats, by eliciting a natural host response.

Hay Fever Symptoms

We are all made of tiny particles, and it is the interactions–mechanical, biochemical, regulatory–of these particles on a micro level at the sites where the foreign body has come into contact with, which manifest as a large scale reaction characterized by itchy, red, watering eyes; stinging, stuffy, running noses; itchy, painful soaring throats. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to manage the Hay Fever Symptoms.

Medicines, Prescriptions And Side Effects

1. Antihistamines

 These are available in pill, liquid, nasal and eye drop form.

Over the counter (OTC): Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, Chlor-Trimeton, Zyrtec and Dimentane. An OTC eye drop is Ocu-Hist.

Prescription: Clarinex and Xyzal which are available in oral form. Astelin, which is a nasal spray, and Patanol, Elestat and Optivar which are eye drops.

Side Effects: Antihistamines may cause drowsiness.

2. Decongestants

These relieve the symptoms of congestion and are often used with antihistamines. These are available in pill, liquid or nasal form OTC or in prescription form. Nasal sprays should not be used for more than 3 days because long-term usage can actually cause rebound congestion, thus exacerbating the symptoms.

Decongestants include Sudafed in tablet or liquid form, Neo-Synephrine and Afrin nasal sprays. They are also available in a form combined with anti-histamines: Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D. 

Side Effects: They may raise blood pressure, so they are contraindicated in people with high blood pressure or glaucoma. Other side effects include irritability, insomnia and decreased urinary flow.

3. Steroid Nasal Sprays

These are available in OTC or prescription form and reduce inflammation of the nose and help relieve sneezing, scratchy, itchy, and runny nose.

Over the Counter (OTC): Nasacort Allergy 24H, Flonase Allergy Relief.

Prescription: Beclomethasone, Fluticasone, Triacinolone, Mometasone, Rhinocort, Veramyst

Side Effects: Nasal corticosteroids may lead to irritation, dryness and burning sensation inside the nasal passages, an increase in sneezing, and irritation of the throat.

4. Mast Cell Stabilizers

These are available in pill and nasal form. These are available by prescription only.

Prescription: Intal, Tilade, Crolom, Alomide, Alocril, Opticrom, Alamast, Nasalcrom

Side effects: Mast cell stabilizers may cause throat irritation, coughing or skin rashes.

5. Leukotriene Inhibitors

These are used to treat asthma and allergy symptoms. These are available in pills and tablet form. These are available by prescription only.

Prescription: Zafirlukast, Monteleukast andZileuton

Side Effect: Leukotriene Inhibitors may cause stomach pain, heartburn, fever, stuffy nose, cough, rash, headache, irritability and behavioral change.

Natural Remedies To Manage Hay Fever Symptoms

There are also natural ways to manage the symptoms of hay fever and these can be used as stand-alone methods or in adjunct with the medical therapy.

6. Vitamin C Intake

Vitamin C is a powerful immune system booster and can be used to alleviate the symptoms, shorten the duration, as well as prevent future attacks.

7. Zinc Tablets

Zinc is an essential mineral and has many regulatory functions in the body such as tissue repair, protein synthesis and cell division. It has an antioxidant effect and strengthens the body against infection.

8. Steam

Inhaling steam is a good way to relieve congestion. Sit beside a hot bowl of water with a towel covering your head to trap the steam in. Take steam a couple times a day.

9. Wash Your Face, Change Your Clothes

This one is the most simple to understand and implement. Every time you walk in from outside, you bring the allergens home with you on your skin, shoes and clothing. Washing your face, changing your clothes and even leaving your shoes outside as you enter can reduce the amount of allergens present on you.

10. Drink Plenty of Liquids

If you are suffering from a post-nasal drip, then drinking liquids can help thin out the mucus in your nasal passages and reduce the sensation. Hot liquids have steam and will be even more beneficial. Hay fever is very manageable and with proper treatment, it doesn’t have to be such a nuisance.