Allergies

Nasal Allergy Medications

An allergy may be termed as an immune system disorder. This is triggered by the hypersensitivity of immune system to some substances known as allergens. Immune system is responsible to protect the body from possible invasion of the harmful foreign substances like parasites, viruses, bacteria, etc by producing antibodies for destroying them. However, in cases of allergies, immune system reacts to harmless substances such as molds, some foods, dust and pollen. Nasal allergy is the most common allergy, where allergens like bacteria, mold, pollen and dust enter the nose and trigger redness of eyes, nasal itching, discharge of mucus, swelling, nasal congestion and sneezing. There are some nasal allergy medications to get rid of this condition.

Nasal Allergy Medications

General treatment for nasal allergy can include antihistamine medications, steroids and decongestants. These medicines are either relievers or controllers. The controllers are those which target the underlying cause of allergies, whereas relievers give temporary relief. Steroids and antihistamine medications are the controllers while decongestants are relievers.

Decongestants

These are generally used to treat nasal congestion, a symptom of nasal allergy. During allergies, histamine broadens blood vessels and stimulates the fluid outflow from them. This along with swollen nasal membrane clogs the nasal passage and triggers stuffiness or congestion. Decongestants constrict the blood vessels and decrease the fluid flow to nasal tissues. This gives relief from stuffy nose. Topical and oral are the two forms of decongestants. Topical decongestants give instant relief but they have some side effects such as dryness of nose and burning sensations if used for longer periods. If used for several days continuously, it may rebound nasal congestion. Irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, nervousness and palpitations are the other side effects of oral decongestants.

Antihistamines

These are used for preventing histamine to attach to histamine receptors which are present on the surface of cells. H1, H2 and H3 are three main types of histamine receptors in the human body. Histamine triggers allergic symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and itching, when it binds with receptors, particularly H1 receptor. Hence, antihistamines bind with H1 receptor and thereby avoid histamines from attaching to receptor sites. Generally, antihistamines usage induces drowsiness and decreases mental alertness.

Steroids

These are hormones produced by adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are famous for their anti inflammatory effects and thus used to treat allergies, particularly nose inflammation. Nasal steroids are very effective in relieving congestion and are usually used along with antihistamine drugs. However, if these are used for long term, they can produce side effects such as nasal crusts and nasal bleeding. These can also trigger cataracts, bone thinning and increases susceptibility to infections.

Although, several nasal allergy medications are available to treat nasal allergy, most of them are related with several harmful effects. Hence, it is best to take appropriate doses of these drugs under physician’s guidance.

To know more in detail about allergy medications, read our other article on Allergy Medications.

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