The first step to manage this condition is to avoid allergens that cause symptoms. For instance, if you are allergic to dust mites, it is important to take steps to prevent exposure to dust mites, such as frequently washing bed linens in hot water. The same is true for outdoor allergens. Limiting your exposure during times of high pollen and mold counts may help reduce symptoms.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays (i.e. Flonase® or Nasonex®) treat inflammation and reduce all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuffiness. Antihistamines (i.e. Benadryl®) in the form of liquid, pills or nasal sprays block histamine and may relieve itching, sneezing and runny nose. But they may not be as effective in reducing nasal stuffiness. Anti-leukotrienes (i.e. Singulair® or Accolate®) in pill form can also reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can be used as needed if nasal stuffiness is not relieved with other medications. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for long periods of time because they can cause your congestion to return and worsen. In fact a new website, www.NoseSprayAddiction.com has helpful information for people who have become addicted to certain medicated nasal sprays.
Consider another alternative. Saline sinus rinses can bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication.
If you suffer from chronic or acute sinus infections, sinus rinses can be helpful in removing and thinning out excessive mucus. If you have allergic rhinitis, these rinses can bring relief by removing allergens from the nostrils and sinuses.
Your medical practitioner may recommend allergy testing and if appropriate allergy shots if your symptoms are constant, if you do not want to take medications or feel that they are not enough, or if you want long-term control of your allergies with less need for medications. This treatment involves allergy testing to determine your allergic triggers and receiving injections periodically—as determined by your practitioner—over a period of three to five years.