If the spring season seems like endless months of misery, it may be time to upgrade your understanding of allergy medications. From itchy, watery eyes to runny nose, many of us have struggled with seasonal allergies and look to over-the-counter medication to ease our allergy symptoms. And while you may have used these medications for years, there are some things we should keep in mind.  

How long does it take allergy medications to work? 

We often want the quickest solution to start feeling better. Generally over the counter medications take 2-4 hours to work. There are some that are faster acting like Benadryl, but they have other side effects, such as drowsiness. You should always be careful when taking any over-the-counter medication and take time to read the medication labels or consult with your physician or pharmacist. 

What is the difference between regular allergy medication and the kind with “D” in them? 

The “D” stands for decongestant. It contains pseudoephedrine, which is a medicine for nasal and sinus congestion. It has the added benefit on top of the antihistamine, which is for the inflammatory response. To get an allergy medication with decongestant in it you will need to ask the pharmacy staff as they are kept behind the counter. This is a great time to talk with the pharmacist about the allergy medication and if it will interact with any of your other medications. You do not need a prescription to access these medications.  

When should I visit the doctor for allergy relief? 

We encourage patients to try over-the-counter remedies as a first step, but if you would like the guidance of an experienced physician, we are here for you.  

And if you have tried the over-the-counter medications and do not see any improvement, schedule an appointment or walk-in. There are other medications, we can use to treat allergies.  When you visit any clinic, they will determine whether you need to see a specialist for further treatment. 

Always remember there are several ways to treat your seasonal allergies and we are glad to speak to you about options and your best course of treatment.