Living With Allergies

How to Get the Most Out of Your Allergy Treatment

Photo of two bottles of Picnic allergy treatment surrounded by plants.

You’re going about your business when all of a sudden your nose starts running, or your eyes start to itch or water. You look at the calendar and realize it’s somehow already your allergy season again. You take your treatment, wait a few minutes, and start to feel frustrated: Why does allergy treatment never work like it’s supposed to?

If this sounds like you, this guide is for you. The annoying truth is that not everything you need to know about using your allergy treatment is printed on the bottle. Luckily, some pro tips are useful for every allergy sufferer no matter what you use to fight your symptoms. Ready to maximize your allergy treatment? Then let’s get started.

1. Know your enemy

It’s reasonable to wonder what’s the point of allergy testing when you already have an effective treatment regimen. “When my eyes itch, I use my eye drops,” you might be thinking. “What difference would it make to know why they’re so darn itchy?”

But when you only treat your symptoms after they’re already making you miserable, you’re missing a big opportunity to be proactive and prevent symptoms from hitting you in the first place. Of course, you can’t plan ahead if you don’t know what you’re planning around, and that means taking the time to figure out what you’re allergic to.

That doesn’t mean you need to spring for expensive testing. You can start by thinking about when and where you experience your symptoms and work backward from there. Tend to get sniffly in the springtime? You’re probably dealing with seasonal allergies, which are typically caused by a certain kind of pollen or grass like ragweed. Tracking when your symptoms are worst and the pollen counts of common allergens and looking for patterns can help you figure out exactly what you’re fighting against.

If you feel worst indoors no matter the season, that’s a clue that you have perennial, or year-round allergies. Learn about how indoor allergens like pet dander, mold, and dust affect people to see which matches your symptom profile most closely.

2. Find the right treatment for your symptoms and then follow instructions

Once you know what’s causing your symptoms, it’s time to figure out the best way to get rid of them. Which treatment is best for you is going to depend on what you’re allergic to and what symptoms you’re trying to soothe.

These are often the most effective types of allergy treatment:

Keep in mind that not every allergy treatment is used the same way, even if they come in the same form. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and take your treatment properly (because you wouldn’t want to do anything that makes it harder to relieve your symptoms).

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3. Know what to expect

After so much frustrating guesswork, it can be really exciting to know you finally have the right treatment in your hands. So it’s reasonable to be disappointed if you try it and your symptoms don’t immediately vanish.

The tough truth is that it can take up to three weeks to see the full benefits of an allergy treatment, so don’t give up if you don’t get the results you’re looking for right away. Give your body time to adjust—it’ll be worth it, we promise.

Another thing to keep in mind is that like everything else that makes you who you are, your symptoms can change over time. It’s also possible to suddenly develop new allergies as you get older. (We know, not exactly what you were hoping to hear.)

That means that the work of figuring out your allergy treatment plan isn’t always a one-time ordeal. Paying close attention to how you feel no matter the season can help you be prepared to make adjustments as you need them.

4. Get ready for next season

If your allergies are seasonal, it can be tempting to kick back and relax once your allergy season is finally over. You definitely deserve a break from thinking about your allergies, but don’t forget to start planning to tackle your symptoms before you start feeling them again.

Why? Because many allergy treatments, like nasal sprays and antihistamines, are meant to work preventively. In fact, they’re most effective if you start taking them a full month before your allergy season begins.

Our tips for getting ahead of your allergy season can help you fight allergy symptoms before they sneak up on you.

Does all of this sound a little overwhelming? Allergies are so common that we sometimes forget how complicated this condition can be. It’s normal to be a little intimidated, and that’s why we’re here to help: Tell us about the symptoms and seasons that bother you most in our quick quiz, and we’ll get you a personal, expert-picked Allergy Pack.

ARTICLE REVIEWED BYAmina H. Abdeldaim, MD MPHPicnic Medical Director
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