WVU Health Report: Choosing allergy medication - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WVU Health Report: Choosing allergy medication

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Thanks to the long, cold winter, this year's Spring allergy season is expected to be one of the harshest ever. Experts have said that this winter's polar vortex is triggering a pollen vortex, as late flowering trees begin pollinating like crazy.

Choosing the right allergy medication can be very important. With so many allergy medications out there, where do you start? Start with your symptoms.

Sneezing, runny nose a problem? Choose an antihistamine. "Good choices would be Claritin or Allegra or Zyrtec, or their generic equivilants. Those medications don't cause drowsiness, so they're first picks," according to Tara Whetsel, from the WVU School of Pharmacy.

Itchy eyes? Choose a ketotifin. The brand names are Alaway and Zatidor. "Ketotifin would be recommended for eye symptoms because it's more effective and causes less side effects than the other allergy eye drops that are available," said Whetsel.

Congestion? Try a decongestant pill or nasal spray. "You can use a combination pill that has a decongestant in it, like Allegra D or Claritin D, those medications are behind the counter at the pharmacy; you don't have to have a prescription, but they have pseudoephedrine, pseudoephedrine in them as the decongestant, and so you do have to show ID and provide a signature to obtain those," according to Whetsel. Nasacort, is a prescription nasal spray just recently made available over the counter. Medical experts explain the benefits of Nasacort are using one medication to treat all of your symptoms. In addition, you don't have to sign for it, it doesn't have a decongestant in it. "Some people are very sensitive to side effects from the oral decongestants," said Whetsel.

You should take an allergy medication for 4 days to a week, to see if it's working. If it's not, try something else. "And experts say the generics are just as effective as the name brands and cost less," said Dr. Rolly Sullivan from the WVU School of Medicine.

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