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Don't let seasonal allergies get you down: What to look for in an allergy medication

Ease the misery with allergy meds

Do you have problems with seasonal allergies? Well, don't let allergies become an excuse for you to stop exercising. There are plenty of over-the-counter medications on the market that can help clear up the drips and help you stop sneezing.

Okay -- now that you've made up your mind not to let allergies get you down, what exactly should you look for in an allergy medicine?

Antihistamines

Block histamine, an inflammatory chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. Blocking histamine reduces such symptoms as redness, swelling, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and hives. Antihistamines are available over the counter and by prescription.

Decongestants

Relieve nasal and sinus congestion, and are sold both over the counter and by prescription.

Corticosteroids

Help prevent and treat the inflammation caused by an allergic reaction. Corticosteroids are available only by prescription.

Leukotriene modifiers

Block the effect of leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. These medications are only available by prescription.

Mast cell stabilizers

Prevent the release of histamine. These are available over the counter.

And for those of you who hate swallowing pills, the good news is that most of these medications are available in pill, liquid, nasal spray, eye drop and topical (applied to the skin) forms.

To make the best choice, get advice from your doctor, and find out which medications are best for your particular symptoms.

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