What is an Allergy?

An allergy is a specific, exaggerated reaction to a particular substance. These are called allergens. 

Common respiratory allergens include

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Animal dander 

Non-respiratory allergens include

  • Foods
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Things with which we come into physical contact

What are the most common symptoms of allergy?

  • Profuse, watery/runny nose
  • Bouts of recurrent sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and/or throat
  • Eye tearing

Symptoms associated with allergies include

  • Ear pressure
  • Hearing loss
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Worsening of known bronchial asthma

Allergy treatment

  • Avoid triggers if known
  • HEPA filters
  • Bedding liners
  • Limit fabrics on furniture, floors, window covering as these collect dust and other allergens
  • Air conditioners in hot weather

Over-the -Counter medications

  • Antihistamines,
  • Antihistamine/decongestants
  • Nasal steroid sprays
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Nasal saline irrigation
  • Allergy testing if avoidance and  OTC medications are ineffective


Before you take any over-the-counter (OTC) medication consult your primary doctor or a specialist familiar with your medical history and your health conditions. Some OTC drugs can have serious side effects.