“My nose is running all the time.” Hmmmmm. . . . . .
This is a common complaint. This spring and summer in Wichita have been SUPER-allergic—even those who have been well controlled. There are really four ways to help: patient education, allergen avoidance, pharmacotherapy and immunotherapy.
The best symptom relief comes from intranasal steroids (FDA approved down to age 2 years old!). No long term adverse effects have been found. Some intranasal sprays make your nose sting or smell like flowers, but it will decrease symptoms. Oral antihistamines also help. Benadryl is available over the counter—this is great at bedtime, because it can make you so drowsy that you HAVE to go to bed. Non-sedating second-generation antihistamines Claritin and Allegra are effective.
Immunotherapy is performed by an “allergist”—a specialized area of medicine. Moderate or severe persistent allergic rhinitis not responsive to usual treatments may be helped when given small amounts of allergen extract given under the tongue or skin over the course of a few years. Also, DNA technology has allowed for allergen-specific vaccines to be developed!
I do like alternative medicine, WHEN it has been definitively shown to help. As for nonpharmacologic therapies. . . randomized controlled trials have NOT found that acupuncture or probiotics or herbal preparations to help.
Lastly, here is a common sense approach. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, pets, and allergens you know you are sensitive to. Nasal irrigation (sinus wash) at home may help flush allergens out. These are available at any pharmacy OTC. Neti pot or low-pressure squeeze bottle are superior to saline sprays. Washing hair at bedtime and changing pillow cases nightly may help keep allergens caught in hair to affect you at nighttime.
. . . I’m reminded of that kid-joke ending in . . . It’s SNOT funny.