Spring is going to be quickly upon us, and for those of us with allergies it’s time to look into the relief that you deserve. For most of us, that means finding the best allergy medicine we can, seeking relief for the whole day.
We took a look at pretty much every preparation, pill, powder, or formula we could in order to ascertain which the best of the best is. As far as we’re concerned, the average allergenic victim is going to find Allegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy Tablets to provide long lasting relief without leaving you drowsy, but it might not be the right answer for you.
Let’s dig into the meat of the matter, starting with our top five reviews and then we’ll look into just what you might need to get the most relief from your symptoms.
If you’re looking to get all day, lasting relief without feeling tired then you may want to give Allegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy Tablets a shot. One pill a day, and allergies can be a thing of the past. It’s also undoubtedly the best non-drowsy allergy medicine around.
Top 5 Allergy Medications
|Allegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy||Fexofenadine 180mg||5/5||Check Price|
|Kirkland Signature Aller-Tec||Cetirizine HCl 10mg||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Diphenhydramine HCI 25 Mg||Diphenhydramine HCl 25mg||3.5/5||Check Price|
|Bausch & Lomb Alaway||Ketotifen||4/5||Check Price|
|Tylenol Sinus||Acetaminophen 325mg
1. Best Overall Allergy Medicine
Allegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy Tablets
Allegra produces a medication which has a reputation for being the best over-the-counter allergy medicine. For those who don’t want to have to remember to take their medication several times a day it’s a pretty clear win, and its efficacy speaks for itself.
It’s effective against both indoor and outdoor allergies, with its ingredient being in a long-lasting form that provides relief for an entire day. Some of our reviewers with more severe allergies had good luck splitting the pills in half as well, but just taking it as it comes was amazingly effective for the most part.
On top of this, the side effects are virtually non-present. No drowsiness was reported across the board, and many people actually ended up switching to this from their regular medication after being exposed to it.
The active ingredient is Fexofenadine, a third generation antihistamine. The only real issue is that it doesn’t do much for congestion, but paired with Sudafed PE it presented a complete solution to virtually all allergic symptoms.
Pros and Cons
- Lasts for 24 hours
- Relieves most symptoms of allergies easily
- No drowsiness reported
- Works on both indoor and outdoor
- Doesn’t work in rare cases
2. Best Budget Allergy Medicine
Kirkland Signature Aller-Tec Cetirizine Hydrochloride Tablets
It’s not name brand, but Kirkland sells another of the best OTC allergy medicines. It’s non-drowsy, but above all it’s extremely cheap and if the 10mg of cetirizine hydrochloride works for your allergies you can save a lot of money.
For the most part cetirizine is an extremely effective formulation with few side-effects, although in some rare cases it still leaves people drowsy. Most of our reviewers found it extremely effective against their allergies, although a few found it not to work all that well.
The price per dose is extremely low, however, so for many people it’s worth a shot. Kirkland’s quality control is great compared to many of the low budget generic medications out there as well, so you can trust it despite it being off brand.
Kirland Signature’s relatively generic cetirizine pills pack an awesome punch, and many people find it to be a perfect, low cost solution to their allergies. Give it a shot and see if it works for you.
Pros and Cons
- Fairly non-drowsy
- Extremely cheap both per dose and upfront
- Effective on both indoor and outdoor allergies
- Great quality control for a generic
- Some people get drowsy with this medication
- No decongestant properties
3. Best First Generation Allergy Medicine
Diphenhydramine HCI 25 Mg – Kirkland Brand
Unfortunately, for some people the first generation of antihistamines are still the best despite their sometimes problematic side effects. If you’re in that category, then you’re in luck since the generics are both effective and highly affordable.
Others find them quite efficacious for skin allergies at night, when the drowsiness brought on isn’t nearly as much of an issue. It’s not that diphenhydramine isn’t effective, it’s very effective for most allergy symptoms. It’s just that it has a tendency to make people drowsy.
Whether or not this is the type of medication which works for you is going to be based on your experience. Personally, we don’t think they’re a great way to start if you’re just now needing allergy medicines, but keep them in mind if none of the new stuff works.
Diphenhydramine is extremely effective, but first generation antihistamines have a way of working when nothing else will. Keep this generic brand in mind if you find yourself needing them.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely cheap per dose
- Very effective against allergies
- Can work as a “night time” pill for some
- Pills can be split for smaller dosage applications
- Lots of side effects, primarily drowsiness
- Should really only be used as a last line medication
4. Best Eye Drops for Allergies
Bausch & Lomb Alaway Eye Itch Relief
If your eyes need an extra touch, then these eye drops were the best we could find. They work amazingly for about twelve hours per dose, and they’re just the thing to give you that extra edge.
The active ingredient is both effective and long lasting, allowing you to handle red, itchy eyes and the extra tears that the allergy season often brings with it.
Paired with the right medication you might even be able to get through pollen season without any discomfort at all.
Just make sure not to over-use them. Follow the directions and you’ve got a clear path to making sure that your allergies don’t bother your eyes however.
These Bausch & Lomb eye drops are some of the best around, snap them up in order to make allergy season even easier on you.
Pros and Cons
- Provides 12 hours of relief per drop
- Handles eye allergies quickly and effectively
- Suitable for long term usage if directions are followed
- Synergistic with antihistamines
- Only works for the eyes
- Rather expensive
5. Best Decongestant Allergy Medicine
Tylenol Sinus Congestion And Pain Caplets
If you’ve got congestion along with the rest of your uncomfortable allergy symptoms, then you may want to try out Tylenol Sinus Congestion and Pain. The acetaminophen handles any pain you might experience, while the phenylephrine works to break up the painful mucus in your sinuses.
It’s not something most people are going to need every day, but we’ve all had those painful sinus headaches which leave us in pain and not able to handle daily tasks. This medication is readily able to handle this for you, and it’s one of the best of it’s type.
It’s a little bit expensive, and it doesn’t come with an antihistamine built in, but many of our reviewers loved it.
Make congestion problems a thing of the past by utilizing Tylenol Sinus Congestion and Pain. It’ll handle things, so you’re free to go through your day much easier.
Pros and Cons
- Takes care of sinus headaches
- Handles congestion very well
- Effective dual-medication tablets
- Also good for head colds
- Rather expensive
- Doesn’t contain an anti-histamine
Types of Allergy Medicines
With so many different medications on the shelves, and the even more improbable number of them available online, it seems like there’s no end to the promises of companies to relieve you of your allergies.
We had to be super selective about the medications we chose, since there are actually quite a few side effects to some of the fringe treatment methods. For that reason, most of the products we focused on were pills, since the side effects actually seemed to be quite a bit less.
We looked at but had to discard one of the most commonly recommended types of allergy medicines.
Okay, they’re great. They provide fast relief due to their immediate application to the nose. There’s a problem with them, however, which is the fact that they’re also addictive.
Now, we’re not saying that you’re going to lose your house and car to a nasal spray addiction. Instead we’re talking about the fact that there’s some serious drawbacks to using them, and a reason you’re not supposed to use them for extended periods of time.
Most people with allergies are going to suffer through a whole season, which is a lot longer than the recommended three to five days for using decongestant sprays.
Basically, you develop an immunity to the spray pretty quickly and then you’ll find that you’re not getting any effect from the medication except for relief of the rebound effect. It’s a vicious cycle and we don’t recommend them for allergic individuals.
Eye drops, on the other hand, often offer instant relief from dry, itchy eyes. Most people with allergies have their favorite brand already, but give ours a shot.
It’s amazing just how much difference the right type of eye drops can make in your day. Even if your vision isn’t blurred, you may want to avoid the redness which is often associated with your allergies and the itchiness can be quite uncomfortable.
These medications can be organized into two basic categories: anti-histamines and decongestants. There are also topical solutions which we’ll talk about in a moment.
As a general rule, newer antihistamines have less side effects and are better for a lot of people. The older ones, such as diphenhydramine, do work but have a wide range of side effects that aren’t great. For the most part, we recommend sticking with the second generation antihistamines such as cetirizine if they work for you.
Decongestants get a little bit complicated. The main problem here is that the most effective chemical we have, pseudoephedrine, is also heavily regulated. If you suffer from allergies for months at a time, then you may not even be able to purchase enough at a time to get through it.
On the other hand, phenylephrine is still effective and is what we recommend you use if you’ll need something you can take every day.
In our experience most people worked just fine with most medications, it was the length of time which varied from pill to pill. Look for something long acting for lasting relief and you won’t end up in a bind if you forget your pills at home.
Some people get red skin and other dermatitis-type effects due to their allergies. If that’s the case for you, then you may want to use a topical cream in order to ensure that you’ve got things taken care of as well as possible.
The possible options for over-the-counter treatment include both hydrocortisone creams and calamine lotion. The latter is usually only used for contact dermatitis and bug bites, but it can seriously relieve some itching if your allergies lead you that way.
These are mostly side effect free, but keep an eye out for worsening symptoms and always use them as prescribed.
If you’re not already familiar with the cause of allergies, and many people aren’t since they just kind of know they happen, you might be a bit interested in the theory behind them.
The first thing you need to understand: allergies are caused by your body thinking something innocuous, like pollen, is quite harmful.
Basically, you’re exposed to antigens which causes your immune system to overreact to something relatively common.
While many people are affected by allergies to certain compounds, such as those contained in poison oak, there are also rarer allergies. Some of these are quite severe, of course, such as peanut allergies which require the individual to carry an epi-pen and seek out medical help in the case of exposure.
Something like 30% of the adult population suffers from nasal allergies, which are what we normally call “allergies” and a sizable portion also suffers from eye allergies or skin allergies as well.
If you’re here, then chances are that you already know the symptoms. Runny nose, itchy eyes, just enough to ensure that you’re completely miserable the entire time that allergens are present.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Allergies
A sizable portion of people suffer from both types of allergies.
Common causes of outdoor allergies include:
- Grasses and weeds
Indeed, most outdoor allergens are plant based. That makes them hard to avoid if you’re planning on being outdoors for any span of time during, especially outside of the winter months.
On the other hand, indoor allergies can be just as bad and primarily come from animal sources:
- Cat and dog dander
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
While all of these are harmless to the majority of people, if you’re trapped indoors for work in an area where you’re allergic to something present… life can be rather difficult unless you’re using allergy medication.
Different Types of Allergies
While many people have a wide variety of different allergies, sometimes effecting all three, for the most part they can be separated into three categories.
Nasal allergies are the most common. They can cause congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, and even itchy eyes due to the inflammation of the sinuses caused by the body’s immune response. They’re most commonly treated with antihistamines and decongestants in conjunction.
Left untreated, nasal allergies can turn into sinus infections which will seriously ruin your day. If you get to that point it’s best to seek medical attention.
Eye allergies are also common. Fortunately, they can be treated just as well as nasal allergies with over-the-counter medications. If red eye and blurred vision persists, you may want to look into the use of eye drops in order to reduce the symptoms further.
Skin allergies are uncomfortable but treatable in many cases. If you get red, itchy skin without it being directly related to contact dermatitis from another source such as poison oak or nickel then you can treat this with over-the-counter lotions.
If the condition persists you’ll want to see a doctor in order to determine the exact cause and what you can do to avoid it in the future.
There are some additional considerations to take into account, since allergy medicines are generally used for longer periods of time.
Do not take more than recommended. This is especially important when you’re using old generation antihistamines, while a mild overdose may not kill you it can definitely make you drowsy and cause some disconcerting side effects.
Just follow the instructions on the package and the chances of anything happening are very low however.
Most antihistamines and decongestants are quite safe to use for a couple of weeks at a time.
On the other hand, eye drops and topical corticosteroids can cause some problems if used for extended periods.
With topical preparations the risks are thinned skin, scaly patches, and… basically everything you’re trying to avoid.
On the other hand, eye drops can start to cause the conditions they’re trying to treat. Overuse is pretty uncommon, again it’s usually the best in order to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results.
There’s always going to be some potential for side effects when you use a new medication. If anything strange starts happening to you after starting a new med then you need to contact a doctor immediately.
Oddly enough, allergic reactions to allergy medications are possible. Be cautious if you’re using a medication for the first time, but be aware that often these occur in less than 1% of the population for any given medication so it’s not really a reason to not try something that may work.
Other Measures to Take Against Allergies
Medicine isn’t the whole answer for many people, and over the years there have been an absolute ton of methods developed for helping with allergies.
- Dietary measures are sometimes effective. Whether it’s just eating a raw clove of garlic or something really spicy to clear the sinuses out temporarily or entirely altering your diet many people have found some relief from their seasonal allergies.
- Local honey is a measure which many people have recommended for those with pollen allergies. It makes sense in theory: the bees use the pollen to create honey and ingesting it frequently may desensitize the body to it over time. Use it cautiously however, as it can cause further problems.
- Neti pots and other sinus rinses are pretty awesome for at least cleaning things out temporarily. It’s a bit odd of an experience if you’ve never used one before, but give it a shot if you suffer from more congestion than you can take of with regular doses of medication.
The list of things people have tried are pretty much endless, but the above three have been recommended quite frequently in our experience and may be worth a shot.
Actually, a recent study even showed acupuncture to be effective although there’s no real mechanism of action described.
For indoor allergies, there’s a whole list of things which people have tried. HEPA filters in their vacuums, eucalyptus oil in diffusers, and deep cleaning the house.
The real takeaway is this: it’s best to approach allergies from many angles in order to help reduce your symptoms as much as possible.
There are a lot of proposed remedies out there, and most of them won’t hurt to give a shot.
You don’t have to be miserable during your next allergy season. There are a ton of different solutions out there, ranging from making sure you have the best medication for your symptoms to knowing the sources of your allergens and trying to reduce exposure.
So whether it’s spring hay fever, or being stuck in the house with mites during the winter, pick up the medications which suit you best and stride forth with your eyes and nose clear. Or you could always just suffer through it again, the choice is yours.