How to Treat Allergies in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic

How to Treat Allergies in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic Feature Image
March 31, 2020

Why Is It Important to Treat Your Allergies More than Ever During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

As we enter allergy season in the midst of the Corona Virus Pandemic, we are stressing that more than ever it is important to treat allergies aggressively and minimize allergy symptoms. 

Coronavirus is spread when someone who is infected is sneezing and coughing. People catch Covid19 when they rub their eyes and their nose, blow their nose, rub their face. 

Who does these things more than anyone else? Adults and especially children who suffer from untreated or undertreated allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and allergic asthma. Allergic conjunctivitis causes symptoms of itchy eyes, watery eyes, and red eyes. Allergic rhinitis causes symptoms of sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Allergic asthma causes symptoms of coughing, wheezing, mucus production, and chest tightness

Patients who suffer from allergies have 2 issues. First, their allergy symptoms can increase the risk of getting COVID-19 and/or spreading COVID-19. Secondly, patients with allergic asthma whose asthma is not controlled well are at risk for more serious complications of COVID-19.

Allergies and asthma are not trivial. Take control of your allergies today. Call NY Allergy & Sinus Centers. We are available for allergy consultations and testing for new and existing patients. 

How to Treat Allergies in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic

How to best treat your allergy symptoms? Unfortunately, for most people with allergies, there is no easy treatment. Traditionally, most people like taking an allergy pill. There are numerous allergy medicines available that one can take orally. There are numerous different categories. the most common ones are antihistamines. 

There are two different categories of antihistamines that are available orally. 1st generation antihistamines are the oldest antihistamines available. Examples include Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Chlor Trimeton (chlorpheniramine), Clistin (carbinoxamine), Tavist (clemastine) and Dimetane (brompheniramine). These medications, although effective, have a few drawbacks. These include the relatively short duration of action (4-6 hours), sedation (makes you sleepy), dry mouth and other mucus membranes and interactions with numerous other medications and alcohol.

2nd generation antihistamines are relatively newer and have less of these issues. They are much less sedating or non-sedating. Their duration of action is up to 24 hours and they do not cause much dryness of mucous membranes. Examples of 2nd generation antihistamines include Claritin (loratadine), Allegra (fexofenadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Xyzal (levocetirizine).  Antihistamines help with allergy symptoms, but because the medicine needs to be distributed to your eyes, nose, and chest, the levels of antihistamines may not be enough to adequately control your symptoms. If your allergies are not adequately controlled by allergy pills or you simply do not like taking pills, you may want to try “topical treatments.”

Obviously, topical treatments are used for the organ system that is bothering you. Eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis is a common symptom of springtime allergies. Symptoms of eye allergies include itchy eyes, watery eyes, and red eyes. Topical antihistamines are the most effective treatments available to treat eye allergies. OTC options for topical antihistamine eye drops include Zaditor (ketotifen), Naphazoline (Vasocon) and Patanol (olopatadine). Naphazoline may be combined with a decongestant eye drop, pheniramine (Naphcon-A) to help get more of the redness out of the eyes. Often times these eye drops can provide faster and longer-lasting relief than oral antihistamines. 

Nasal allergies present more of a challenge. In the long run, intranasal steroids may provide more effective relief of nasal allergy symptoms of sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose, and nasal congestion. The problem is that they take a few days, even up to a week to fully kick in.  Numerous studies have shown that they are much more effective than oral antihistamines in treating many of the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Examples of over the counter intranasal steroids include Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (triamcinolone) and Rhinocort (budesonide). Be patient, they will help more after a few days of regular use. 

Allergic asthma causes symptoms of coughing, wheezing, mucus production, and chest tightness.  Get to an allergist quickly before you have an asthma attack! 

If you are still suffering after trying all of these medicines or you want to see a doctor who does nothing all day but think about how to make your allergies better, visit us at www.NYAllergy.com to make an online appointment or call us at 212-686-6321.

Come in, get tested to see what you are allergic to and let us help design a customized allergy treatment plan to help you feel better and keep you from doing all those things that people are terrified of right now!

Meet the Physician Collaborator

Dr. Morris Nejat is an allergist and immunologist that specializes in hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, and food allergies. He is board-certified with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Board of Pediatrics. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Nejat by calling 212-686-4448 or book an appointment online.