Help For Allergy Sufferers

Spring is here, and for many people that means allergy season. After another mild winter, experts say this one could be a humdinger.

Nearly one in four Americans suffer from allergies. Every year, there are more new drugs to fight the symptoms, and billions of dollars are spent on allergy medications.

Dr. Marianne Frieri, an allergy specialist, sorted out the various kinds of new allergy treatments for CBS News Saturday Morning.

Some of the commonly prescribed allergy drugs are listed below. All of those listed require a doctor's prescription unless they're indicated as "over the counter."

Nasal Sprays usually work especially well for children, since they're easier to take than pills or eyedrops.

  • Nasonex, for ages 12 and up, is used daily to prevent allergy trouble before it gets started. Possible side effects include nasal irritation and bloody discharge.
  • Flonase is available for ages 4 and up.
  • Nasalcrom (available over the counter) is not a steroid and has to be used more frequently than the prescription alternatives.
  • Astelin, for ages 12 and up. Possible side effect: bad after-taste.
  • Atrovent, for ages 12 and up. This product is intended to stop mucus flow.

Antihistamines

  • Claritin Reditabs are good for children ages 6 and up, because they work like a fizzy. It is one of the biggest sellers in the country, but it's expensive at about $2.20 a pill.
  • Zyrtec is another of the biggest sellers in the world. It is good for kids age 2 and up. Possible side effect: It can dry up your whole system, including skin and eyes.
  • Allegra is good for those ages 12 and up, and for those who liked Seldane, which is now off the market.

Eye Drops

  • Livostin is an antihistamine eye drop which works for four to six hours.
  • Patanol works for 12 hours.
  • Naphcon-A (over the counter)works for four to six hours.

For more information on allergies, go to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of AmericaWeb site. There, you can locate a chapter near where you live.

Current articles and other helpful links can be found at the Web site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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