Comparing Allergy Treatments for Effects on Mood and Well-being

allergy treatments

During allergy season exercise is difficult if not impossible if bending over causes headache and difficulty breathing or when excess mucus causes coughing and sneezing. Treatment goals are to reduce the symptoms of seasonal and environmental allergies and enable the person to go about normal activity. The best choice may be different for each person. While allergy affects mood, sometimes the allergy treatment itself causes a mood disorder such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety, or depression.

Zyrtec, Allegra, Xyzal, Claritin, Benedryl, and their Generic Equivalents for Allergy

These drugs, available either over the counter or by prescription, will treat itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses but won’t clear nasal congestion. Zyrtec causes drowsiness for some thus is recommended to take before sleep. Claritin may take longer to be effective.
On the other hand, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) will dry up secretions but has been compared to having a BAC (blood alcohol count) of 0.1%. There have also been reports of impaired school and learning performance.

The Nasal Sprays for Allergy and Side Effect

Intranasal antihistamines such as Astelin and Astepro and their generics take effect more quickly than pills but sometimes leave a bad taste in the back of the throat. They can also cause a sleepy feeling. To avoid nose irritation and nose bleeds spray to the side of the nostril instead of directly central.
Cromolyn (Nasalcrom) can prevent allergy reactions before exposure but wont do much once the allergen sets in. It is also a 4 times a day spray that can be impractical.

Mucinex nasal spray will decrease congestion but not runny noses and sneezing. Like Afrin, using this for more than a few days can cause rebound congestion, setting up an unwelcome cycle of congestion and relief and re-congestion, etc.

The Decongestant Pills for Allergy and Side Effects

Sudafed and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) will decrease rhinitis and not cause rebound rhinitis but in some people they can cause a raise in blood pressure and headache. They can also cause irritability and heart palpitations. They can create a feeling of shakiness.

Combining oral meds and nasal sprays covers many of the symptoms of allergy and is sometimes a good solution. Of course adding meds increases the odds of reaction to something in the meds or in the combinations.

Avoiding Allergens as Treatment can also Affect Mood

Wearing respirator masks to avoid pollen and dust mites has limited success unless the mask is perfectly fitted to the face. It also has the psychological effect of isolating the wearer from others and impeding speech and communication.

Similarly staying indoors on beautiful pollen filled days to avoid exposure can increase depression and isolation. Reducing indoor humidity to reduce dust mites has the side effect of creating itchy dry skin and mucus membranes.

Sensitivity to the allergen by allergy shots is a process that can take up to 5 years. Consider the benefits and lifestyle needs when selecting allergy treatment. Discuss concerns with an allergy specialist and evaluate any mood changes with the season and medications taken.

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