How to Keep Seasonal Allergies From Ruining Your Ride

2. Nose sprays: Corticosteroid medications, in general, act to reduce inflammation. For seasonal allergies, intra-nasal corticosteroid sprays (beclomethasone, flunisolide, budesonide, mometasone, fluticasone and ciclesonide) reduce inflammation and mucous secretion of nasal passage lining. It can take days to weeks for the sprays to take full effect, which mean they should be used consistently for maximal effectiveness. For those with more mild symptoms, intra-nasal antihistamine and decongestant sprays should be tried before using a corticosteroid nose spray.

3. Eye drops: Vasoconstrictor, antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer eye drops (olopatadine, ketotifen, and cromolyn sodium etc.) can be used to control itchy, red or swollen eyes. How often the eye drops can be used varies between brands and type. Some eye drops can be purchased without a prescription.

Using sprays and drops are the preferred method of treatment since they're fast acting and less likely to cause systemic side effects. If symptoms aren't well controlled with topical medications, stronger oral medications may be used.

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4. Anti-histamines: Non-sedating and long-lasting oral antihistamine medications (desloratadine, loratidine, fexofenadine, and cetirizine) are the mainstay of seasonal allergy treatment. These medications have minimal side effects and are taken once or twice daily.

5. Decongestant medications: Decongestant medications (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine) reduce mucous secretion of the nasal passages. These medications are taken every 4 to 6 hours.

If one's symptoms are difficult to control despite the combination of topical and oral medications, then immunotherapy in the form of subcutaneous injections or sublingual/oral medications should be considered. The use of these treatments usually requires allergy testing and is overseen by allergy/immunology specialist physicians.

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Year-Round Allergies

If symptoms are year-round or become worse during seasonal allergy season, then the dosage and/or frequency of ones medication(s) may need to be increased or altered by adding a new type of medication.

Asthma

Up to 50 percent of asthma sufferers will also have seasonal allergies. The medical treatment of one's asthma should be reviewed if one's asthma symptoms become worse when seasonal allergies are aggravated. Adding or increasing the use of inhaled corticosteroids may need to be considered.

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Anti-doping

The medications discussed in this article are generally not on the 2014 World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List. The main exceptions are decongestant medications, which are forms of oral stimulants. Pseudoephedrine is prohibited in-competition when urine concentration is greater than 150 micrograms/mL. Ephedrine and methylephedrine are also prohibited in-competition when urine concentration is greater than 10 micrograms/mL.

Phenylephrine is included in WADA's Monitoring Program and is not considered prohibited. Corticosteroids are only prohibited when administered in oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal forms. If you're competing at a level that requires anti-doping testing, have all your medications (prescribed and over-the-counter) reviewed by a sports medicine physician or your national and/or international sport federation to be on the safe side.

Medications can also be reviewed on-line: http://www.globaldro.com.

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