With spring allergy season looming, people need to know the facts about controlling their allergies, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
According to the College:
* Over-the-counter oral antihistamines are less effective than prescription medicines in controlling a stuffy nose. These antihistamines may control some allergy symptoms but have little effect on relieving a stuffy nose or inflammation that often occurs with allergies.
* Over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays are not addictive. But overuse leads to a need to use more and more in order to get congestion relief. Don't use these nasal sprays for more than three days in a row.
* Eating local honey will not combat spring allergies.
* Pollen allergies can lead to food allergies. About one-third of people with pollen allergies also may react to certain foods because some pollens and foods have similar proteins. The reaction is usually mild and may include itchy, tingling mouth, throat or lips.
* Skin tests are more sensitive than blood tests for diagnosing allergies.
* Allergy shots are not necessarily more costly or time-consuming than taking medicine to relieve allergy symptoms. Over time, in fact, they may reduce an allergic person's health-care costs.