We can think of only like a hundred reasons why having an allergic reaction to something is one of the worst things to find yourself amidst in!

After all, there is nothing pleasant about constant watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat and skin, consecutive sneezes, coughing fits…well, you get the picture. And more than anything you would want in this picture is to get instant relief from all the allergic symptoms you are experiencing at that moment.

Luckily, you have quite a lot of options available to pick from.

Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants are your best bets. They are extremely effective at relieving mild allergic symptoms that may accompany allergic reactions like hives, hay fever etc.

Antihistamine vs. Decongestants: Which one is for you?

When you experience an allergic reaction, your body secretes histamine. As the name suggests, antihistamine blocks histamine which automatically brings down the allergic symptoms you experience during an allergic reaction.

On the other hand, decongestants work by cutting down on the fluid that builds in the lining of your nose. They are particularly effective for people who experience congestion and blocked or swollen nasal passages as allergic symptoms.

Antihistamines and decongestants both are available in the form of pills and nasal sprays.

So how do you choose between the two?

Research suggests that antihistamines are twice as more effective at relieving your allergic symptoms when they are taken before the onset of the allergic reaction itself. This way they can already build themselves up in your blood before the allergen (the substance that causes allergy) can release histamine. If you have enough antihistamines in your blood, they can easily block the secretion of histamine and then you won’t have to go through the awful allergic symptoms at all.

This makes them ideal for seasonal allergies. When you know that the seasons are about to change and usually that does trigger an allergy, you can ask your doctor if it would be in your best interest to start taking an anti-allergic supplement.

On the other hand, decongestants can be taken once the allergic reaction has already been triggered, you are already experiencing the allergic symptoms and you want some relief. Most people tend to opt for decongestants in the form of a nasal spray. And if you would like to do the same, remember not to use it for more than 3 days straight. Not only do you increase the chances of becoming dependent on the nasal spray, you might even make your allergic symptoms more difficult to treat by default.

Usually, over-the-counter anti-allergic supplements start working almost immediately (you start noticing a difference in your allergic symptoms in a day or two) but if for some reason they do not do their job, it means that your allergic reaction needs the attention of a doctor.

In that case, please do not hesitate in contacting them at your earliest.