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Over-the-Counter Remedies Can Quell Allergy Symptoms

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - The start to spring allergy season may still be a couple weeks away, but many West Tennesseans are already dealing with the symptoms.

The good news is you do not necessarily have to make a trip to the doctor's office to get relief.

It actually only takes a trip to the drug store. Pharmacists told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News if you do not have allergy symptoms yet, you should still be prepared.

Pharmacist Bill Richardson said allergies are hard to avoid, even in winter when you are not outside as much.

"Pets are indoors, people's houses are warmer, the humidity's higher in the house, and that helps the growth of dust mites and also mold," Richardson said.

He said we have had an early allergy season this year because of the mild winter. Fortunately, there are lots of great choices to deal with those awful symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.

He said your best bet is a 24-hour antihistamine.

Richardson recommended taking pills like Claratin, Zyrtec or Allegra, because you only have to take it once a day, and it does not make you drowsy.

"You can go about your business without any worry of sedation and driving under the influence, so they're great products," he said.

He said Benadryl worked slightly better, but you have to take it more often, and it makes you drowsy.

Eye drops are also good for itchy, watery eyes.

"You don't want to get an eye drop that is for red eyes, or you don't want to get an eye drop that is strictly for tired eyes, but there's several that will say on the packaging 'for allergy,' and most of those were prescription at one time. They're not prescription now."

Richard said you can even get allergy relief without taking any medication.

He said neti pots are popular. They are a saline solution, where you irrigate your sinuses.

"A lot of people even take the medicines still have some side effects and they don't like that. You don't have any side effects when you use something topical like that."

And to keep from getting allergies, Richardson said to try to stay indoors, keep your house clean, and have good hygiene, but medications are still your best bet for seasonal allergies.

He said spring allergy season is usually from March to June, and the fall season is from September until the first frost.