Allergy season is here and for many, it’s the worst time of the year. But NewsChannel 3 is taking action to find out which allergy medicines best work for you. We sat down with Ear, Nose and Throat doctor Fred Lindsay.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, up to 50 million Americans suffer from some type of allergy. Many of them deal with seasonal allergies and the symptoms, from itchy eyes to sinus headaches can be painful and finding what helps ease the pain, can be even worse. New allergy drugs are added to store shelves each year but Dr. Lindsay sits down with NewsChannel 3 to help navigate your options.
“We taste through our mouth and smell through our nose, and if you start putting products in those particular areas they cause some damage,” said Dr. Fred Lindsay.
He says from nasal sprays to natural meds, you have to be careful with what medicine you may chose. He says always make sure the medicine is FDA approved. But what his choice for the everyday allergy sufferer? Oral antihistamines, or pills.
His top three choices are Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin.
“Those three are probably the best for working with outside affects,” Dr. Lindsay said.
He adds though scientifically, one is not superior to the other, it depends on what symptoms you have like allegery sufferer Chris O’Brien.
“It will be in my eyes. I get ichy, really itchy inside my sinus cavity,” O’Brien said.
For Chris’ itchiness, Dr. Lindsay says Zyrtec should be his choice. But Dr. Lindsay gives a clear warning for people like Chris, because Zyrtec makes you the drowsiest.
“I've had patients in my practice that say I don't take Zyrtec because it makes me tired,” he said. “It also has the highest sedation rate.”
If you don’t want to be drowsy, Lindsay says reach for the Allegra instead.
But those medicines can get pricey, that’s why Chris O’Brien buys the generic brands. He tells NewsChannel 3 it saves him a lot of money and they work just the same.
“It`s a target brand and it worked well, it’s the generic of Claritin,” O’Brien said.
Dr. Lindsay has no problem with the generics and says there’s no difference, it’s the Claritin part he shies away from.
“I'm not a huge fan of Claritin,” said Dr. Lindsay.
He adds it’s strictly a personal opinion, because by the time his patients come in for a visit, Claritin has stopped working.
But he has another warning for all of those who suffer heart problems or high blood pressure. He says you’ll need to avoid the decongestants attached to these oral meds. You’ll usually find a “D” added on to the name brands.
“Most allergists don`t recommend the D products daily,” he said.
Especially for the long term, as Dr. Lindsay says it can spike your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
But if you are generally healthy, Dr. Lindsay recommends trying all three (Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra) to see which best improves your symptoms. Dr. Lindsay says for best results; use one of these oral antihistamines daily with some type of nasal wash, like a neti-pot or saline spray. He says that will make what was once your worst time of the year, your best.