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Home Home Wellness News Many Pick the Wrong Drugs for Sneezin' Season
Many Pick the Wrong Drugs for Sneezin' Season
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

FRIDAY, March 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Hay fever sufferers often choose the wrong medication for their seasonal sniffles, new research suggests.

With flowers, trees and grasses springing back to life, folks with allergies will start to complain of sneezing, runny noses, and watery, itchy eyes.

More often than not, though, they'll head to the allergy aisle of their nearest drug store without advice from a doctor or pharmacist, the new study found.

Only 63 percent of people who visit their community pharmacy to purchase treatment for their hay fever have a doctor diagnosis, said study senior author Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich.

"This is despite the fact that a vast majority of them are experiencing moderate to severe hay fever symptoms, which impact on their day-to-day living," she added.

Moreover, 70 percent select their own hay fever medication without consulting the pharmacist. And of those who reported wheezing, only 6 percent chose the correct medication, the study found.

"Only 17 percent [choose allergy drugs] appropriately," added Bosnic-Anticevich, a professor at the University of Sydney in Australia, who specializes in the use of respiratory medicines.

It's estimated that hay fever affects 30 percent of the world's population, the researchers pointed out. Although this study was done in Australia, Bosnic-Anticevich said she has heard anecdotally from U.S. colleagues that the results would likely be similar if it had been done with American allergy sufferers.

So what is the optimal medication to quell those seasonal sniffles?

If symptoms stem from a true allergy, many people reach first for oral antihistamines, such as Zyrtec (cetirizine), Xyzal (levocetirizine), Claritin (loratadine) or Allegra (fexofenadine). While these medications are helpful, they may cause side effects, and allergy doctors generally recommend trying nasal steroid sprays first.

Dr. Marcella Aquino is an allergist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. She said, "Nasal corticosteroids are the best for treating congestion, runny nose and sneezing."

Nasal steroid sprays can help symptoms caused by allergies (rhinitis) and a similar condition called nonallergic rhinitis, she noted. Nonallergic rhinitis also causes runny nose and sneezing, but these symptoms aren't caused by an immune system response as allergies are, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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