When spring arrives, so do seasonal allergies. But think twice before reaching for over-the-counter medicine. It may ease your stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing, but there are risks.
Some medicines, including decongestants, work by constricting blood vessels in the nose. This can raise blood pressure. Taking them could be risky if you have high blood pressure.
How can you treat allergy symptoms without raising blood pressure? Try these options:
- Ask your doctor about using antihistamine pills or nasal sprays. Many relieve sneezing, itchiness, and runny nose and are safe for the heart.
- Beat allergens with a nasal spray. Some nasal sprays reduce the body’s reaction to pollen and other allergens. They take about two weeks to start working. You’ll need a doctor’s prescription for a steroid nasal spray.
- Eyedrops can soothe itchy, watery eyes.
- Flush the sinuses with a liquid saline solution. This process, also known as nasal irrigation, is a safe way to improve allergy symptoms without drugs. You’ll find supplies at drugstores.
Not sure if an over-the-counter allergy medicine is safe for you? Ask your doctor or pharmacist.
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