Temporary Relief: A Guide to Over-the-Counter Allergy Medicine

When allergies are taking over your life, you’ll take any type of relief that you can get. The first thing you should do is call CT Sinus Center and book an appointment. Then, while you wait for that, you can use this guide to over-the-counter allergy medicine for some temporary relief.


Allergy medications are usually broken down into three classifications: pills, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Those are further broken down into two classes of drugs: decongestants and antihistamines. A decongestant is used to reduce swelling and can help improve airflow in the upper respiratory tract. Antihistamines are used to block the chemical in the body called histamine, which is a chemical released by white blood cells to neutralize “invaders” in the body.

Allergy Pills:

Most allergy sufferers will turn to an antihistamine or decongestant pill at the first sign of any symptoms.

  • Antihistamine: The pill will attach to the natural histamines in your body and block them from agitating your system.
    • Active Ingredients: loratadine and cetirizine
    • Relieves: itching and congestion associated with allergies
    • Drawbacks: certain medicines can cause drowsiness
  • Decongestant: This pill is used to combat allergies.
    • Active Ingredient: pseudoephedrine
    • Relieves: sinus congestion
    • Drawbacks: can sometimes cause dizziness, anxiety, and irregular heartbeat

Nasal Sprays:

These are usually decongestants and send their active ingredients straight to the source.

  • Decongestant: The medicine will constrict irritated blood vessels in the nose.
    • Active Ingredients: phenylephrine or oxymetazoline
    • Relieves: sinus pressure
    • Drawbacks: may potentially cause nosebleeds or throat irritation

Eye Drops:

Common symptoms that accompanies allergies are itchy or watery eyes.

  • Antihistamine:
    • Active Ingredient: ketotifen
    • Relieves: allergy symptoms in the eyes
    • Drawbacks: needs to be applied frequently
  • Decongestant:
    • Active Ingredients: tetrahydrozoline and naphazoline
    • Relieves: will temporarily shrink inflamed blood vessels in the eye
    • Drawbacks: overuse of drops will have opposite effects

This guide will offer you relief, but it will only be temporary. If you’re tired of suffering from chronic sinus issues and allergies, you need relief that will be permanent. Come see the experts at CT Sinus Center! We offer many treatment options that immediately provide permanent relief, and have our patients back-in-action the very next day. To learn more about all things CT Sinus Center, visit our website, or check up on our blog.