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    Allergy meds question
    jenny380420 posted:
    What OTC allergy meds are the better of the ones on the market. I have REALLY bad allergies that are getting worse quickly, I don't have insurance right now so OTC is all I can do I take zyrtec everyday but it's not enough, started taking clariton with it as well and that has helped a bit. I know differant allergy meds work for differant allergies, I'm just confused on whats what and think I need to be taking meds for broader spectrum of allergies.

    Thanks, Jenny
    Aqua14 responded:
    What's better is what works for you. Everyone's different, but many people (including me) seem to think Zyrtec is excellent in working quickly, lasting long, and not causing drowsiness like Benadryl or the other first-generation antihistamines (like Tavist or Chlor-Trimeton). Many people (including me) think Claritin is really mild, at least in the OTC dosage that's sold in the drugstore.

    Talk to your doctor (or pharmacist) about whether you can simply take a larger dose of Zyrtec. I talked to my allergist about this and I can take up to a double dose (20 mg., or two adult pills) of Zyrtec. I also keep the 5 mg. kids' chewable Zyrtec in my purse in case I need a half-dose extra during the day, which happens fairly often in spring and summer. My impression is that the chewable starts working faster, but that may simply be my imagination.

    Actually all allergy medications work for all respiratory allergies -- doesn't matter if they're indoor or outdoor allergens, the allergic reaction is the same, and the medications have the same anti-allergy action.

    If you can afford them, the prescription nasal steroid sprays are really good to use alongside an antihistamine. Flonase is the one that's generic and so is cheaper. There's another OTC anti-allergy nasal spray called Nasalcrom which could also be used as an add-on in addition to the Zyrtec. However, you need to spray it in your nose quite frequently and it has a mild anti-allergy action. If you already have symptoms setting in it's probably not going to do that much good.

    You also might find that a sinus saline rinse, which you can buy OTC for about $10 - 15, is really quite helpful even though it's only salt water. Rinsing the allergens out of your nose helps stop the reaction, and the warm salt water does a good job clearing congestion.

    Oh, and of course don't forget to work hard on your allergen avoidance measures -- showering after coming in from outside, showering before bed, changing your pillowcase frequently, keeping windows closed in house and car, etc. The less exposure you have to pollen, the better you'll feel.

    Hopefully these thoughts help. Take care & good luck. Judy
    jenny380420 responded:
    I don't have a doc, I don't have insurance so I can't really ask him anything. My allergies are not just resparatory, I have ezema so I can't shower 2 frequently as it makes my skin super itchy and dry even with repeated hypoalergentic lotions. I avoid the allergens as much as possible. I vacuum frequently keep up with my laundry, I use hypoalergenic EVERYTHING pretty much, except shampoo I haven't found any that are truely hypoalergenic that work for me, but my detergents , fabric sofetners, we dust frequently. I am just lost. because I keep having the reactions both resparatory and otherwise, right now I have a tongue covered in painful swollen taste buds and as I haven't changed my diet to spicy or irritating foods and haven't burned my tongue I can only assume it's an allergy reaction.

    I was wondering if there is anything OTC thats similar to singular as I know it's supposed to treat some things that zyrtec and other standard meds don't , at least thats what the had says, so I thought perhaps that might help. I do have flonase but I try to use it sparingly as it is a steroid.

    I need insurance I guess and a doc.

    Aqua14 responded:
    You can ask your pharmacist these questions, and it doesn't cost a dime. Just pick a time when the pharmacy isn't busy to be respectful of his time.

    There is no OTC equivalent to Singulair, which is a type of medication called a leukotriene inhibitor. (Singulair treats the same kinds of allergies that an antihistamine like Zyrtec would.) Leukotrienes are a type of allergy chemical that mainly cause congestion in nose and lungs. Singulair reportedly doesn't work for everyone, and in my experience it has a very mild anti-allergy effect, certainly not as good as Zyrtec or other OTC antihistamines. (It's a little bit better for asthma, in my opinion.) For congestion an oral decongestant like original Sudafed is much better.

    Talk to the pharmacist about what the maximum dosage of Flonase you can take. It is safe to use it every day; the only question is how many sprays you could take. I know that for Nasonex, I can take up to 4 sprays per nostril per day, but every nasal corticosteroid is different, so ask the pharmacist. It's actually better if you take the nasal steroid every day, because then you get the best anti-inflammatory effect. Over time, taken daily, Flonase is going to make your nose less sensitive to your allergens.

    You might also want to add on a saline sinus rinse. If you do that before the Flonase it will make the Flonase more effective, so you can use less.

    Oh, on the eczema, did you read the article that Caprice posted on this board about weak bleach baths? You might try that and see if it helps.

    Do you use a mask when you dust and vacuum? I find that helps a lot. And after I vacuum I leave the house for a while to let the dust settle, because otherwise I have problems if I breathe it in.

    Hope these suggestions help. Take care & good luck. Judy

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