Treatment for Indoor Allergies

The first step in treating indoor allergies is to reduce the amount of allergen in the home (see Indoor Allergy Prevention). If allergy symptoms continue, over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription allergy medications may provide relief.

There are several types of allergy medications available. It is important to talk with a physician about choosing the right allergy medication, even when using over-the-counter medicines.

Allergy Medications

The type of allergy medicine recommended depends on a number of factors, including the specific allergy and the patient's medical history. For example, patients who have high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, or kidney or liver problems should not use certain antihistamines. Patients should be sure to ask a qualified health care provider or pharmacist about possible side effects, drug interactions, and potential warning signs before taking any OTC or prescription medicine.

Medications to treat allergic rhinitis (i.e., runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes) include the following:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Sprays

Medications used to treat asthma-related symptoms associated with allergies include bronchodilators (e.g., albuterol) and/or inhaled corticosteroids. These medications can help reduce inflammation in the airways and improve breathing.

Allergy Therapy

Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, is an allergy treatment that can increase tolerance for certain allergens. Allergy therapy consists of weekly shots over a period of several years. The amount of allergen in the shots is increased slowly over time to help the immune system "learn" to become less sensitive to the substance. Allergy shots can help increase tolerance for pet, dust mite, cockroach, and certain mold allergens.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 23 Oct 2008

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2010