Quick allergy relief methods

April 22, 2024

[5 MIN READ]

In this article:

  • Seasonal allergies can quickly make you miserable — but when you understand them more, you can treat them.

  • Many of the best remedies today for treating environmental allergies are available over the counter.

  • Allergy shots are a good option for people who can’t find relief elsewhere — but you need to see a doctor who knows what they’re doing.

Quick and effective ways to get rid of allergies

Chances are, either you or someone close to you suffers from some type of allergy. Those allergies can run the gamut, from minor annoyances with seasonal allergies when the trees begin to bloom, to a life-threatening emergency because of anaphylaxis (when the throat closes up in reaction to an allergy) or asthma problems.

Understanding your allergies: The basics

An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. Your body’s defense system overreacts to the substance’s presence, causing discomfort or even a dangerous situation.

Types of allergies: Seasonal, food and more

There are six main types of allergens: Food, medications, latex, insects, airborne components (often referred to as environmental allergies), and skin. Since the purpose of this article is to talk about how you can get rid of allergies, we’ll focus on environmental allergies. The best way to manage reactions to the other allergens, of course, is to avoid them at all costs!

Top methods for fast allergy relief

But the “avoid at all costs” method for allergy relief doesn’t work as well for environmental allergies. “If you’re allergic to trees or grass, you can’t get rid of them, and you can’t avoid them,” says Goutam Shome, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at Covenant Medical Group – Southwest Medical Park in Lubbock, Texas. “If your symptoms are mild, you usually do just fine with over-the-counter medicines. You don’t even need to see a specialist. But if you have more severe symptoms that affect your quality of life, that’s when you need to see an allergy specialist.”

Over-the-counter solutions

First, let’s take a look at the easy-to-access treatments for environmental allergies. Over-the-counter medications can come in lots of different formats, including pills, inhalers and eyedrops.

Antihistamine pills or liquids

These medications, including cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin), help relieve runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing.

Inhalers

Antihistamine nasal sprays, such as Flonase, relieve all nasal and sinus symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuff nose.  

Eyedrops

Itchy or watery eyes can be incredibly uncomfortable for those who suffer from allergies, and several over-the-counter eyedrops can relieve itchiness.

How a doctor can help with allergies

If over-the-counter medications don’t provide relief, you may need to see an allergist. They can prescribe stronger inhalers, eyedrops, creams and other remedies. “We see more of the severe patients,” says Dr. Shome. “Some of these patients may have allergies that have escalated to include asthma or eczema.”

Immunotherapy and allergy shots

For some allergy and asthma sufferers (both environmental and other types), the only possible route to relief is immunotherapy. This involves exposing your body to a tiny amount of the substance that is triggering the allergic reaction through shots.

Typically, doctors give allergy shots as regular injections over a period of time, which is usually three to five years. “If your allergy shots are performed by the right person, who is specifically trained in administering shots, there is about an 80% success rate,” says Dr. Shome. “The success rate is even higher in children.”

How to get rid of allergies naturally

Perhaps the idea of going through dozens of different medications and several years of allergy shots isn’t that appealing to you. That’s okay — there are lots of natural ways to relieve allergies, if not get rid of them entirely. Here are a few:

  1. Close your windows – The instant allergy season starts, start limiting the amount of allergens that can enter your house.
  2. Wash off the allergens – Take a bath or shower when you get home from being outside. You can also use a wet washcloth to provide relief for your eyes and sinuses.
  3. Use a nasal rinse – This can clean mucus from your nose and relieve your congestion.
  4. Inhale steam – Hold your head over a warm bowl of water and put a towel over your head to trap the steam.

Knowing when to consult a doctor

According to Dr. Shome, the best time to see a doctor is when your allergies are affecting your quality of life. An allergist/immunologist can perform testing to learn the specific allergens that cause a reaction in your body.

“Once we know what you’re allergic to, we can target the treatment more specifically,” says Dr. Shome. “Then, we can develop a plan of action for finding relief.”

At Providence, you can find an allergy specialist who will work with you to find a treatment that will stop or lessen your symptoms. Learn more about allergy treatment at Providence.

Contributing caregiver






 

Goutam Shome, M.D., is an allergist and immunologist at Covenant Medical Group – Southwest Medical Park in Lubbock, Texas

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Related resources

Asthma and allergies: Take control of your symptoms

Ask an expert: My allergy meds aren’t working

How better indoor air quality leads to a better quality of life

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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