As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, the trees, grass and flowers all begin to bloom – ushering in the season for sneezes, watery eyes and runny noses for many spring-time allergy sufferers.
While there officially is no cure for allergies, there are many prescription and over the counter medications available that can help to easy or control symptoms. Some of the most common include:
- Decongestants – Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion and other symptoms associated with colds and allergies. Decongestants cause the blood vessels to narrow, thus, leading to the clearing of nasal congestion. Decongestants are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. The most commonly used forms are liquid and tablet. However, nose sprays or drops may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Antihistamines – Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and other allergies. Antihistamines prevent the effects of histamine, a substance produced by the body during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines come in tablet, capsule, liquid, nasal sprays or drops, eye drops, or injection form and are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
- Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) - Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for allergic patients with rhinitis (hay fever), conjunctivitis, asthma, or stinging insect allergy. A mixture of the various pollens, mold spores, animal danders, and dust mites to which the patient is allergic is formulated. This mixture is called an allergy extract (vaccine). By administering increasing doses of the allergy extract, the person's natural immune system is enhanced and learns to fight off the allergens. This extract contains no medication such as antihistamines or corticosteroids.
- Bronchodilators - These medications are used to help open narrowed lungs and may relieve coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. These are usually considered "rescue medications" for acute attacks of asthma. These medications come inhaled, in pill form, liquid or injectables.
For more information about over the counter and prescription allergy medications, talk to your pharmacist. Pharmacists at Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, Livingston; Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville; Jersey City Medical Center, Jersey City; Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch; and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark are also available to answer any questions you may have. To speak to a pharmacist at any of these locations, call:
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center: 973-322-7315
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Clara Maass Medical Center: 973-450-2581
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Jersey City Medical Center: 201-915-2166
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Monmouth Medical Center: 732-923-6111
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center: 973-926-7422
- Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacy at Saint Barnabas Medical Center: 973-322-2445