Best OTC Allergy Medicines of 2022: Breathe Easier This Season

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Allergies can be incredibly inconvenient and annoying, so finding the right allergy medication is the best way to overcome them and get back to your life. Going about your day-to-day with allergies can be super frustrating, not to mention trying to keep up with your running schedule. If you struggle with spring allergies, your training schedule doesn't have to suffer. Simply find a good allergy medication to keep you running daily, even with allergies.

There are allergy medications for everyone, whether you prefer a nasal spray, eye drops, or non-drowsy formula. Having readily available over-the-counter allergy medicine makes it convenient and easy to keep your allergies under control so they don’t get in the way of too much of your life.

Below, we share some of the best OTC allergy medicines, who they are best for, and why we think they are the best.

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The Best OTC Allergy Medicine - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for in OTC Allergy Medicines


Antihistamine Type

You'll want to consider antihistamines when shopping for the best OTC allergy medicine. Antihistamines are a type of drug that relieves allergy symptoms. There are a few main types of antihistamines, including cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine. Take some time to read the ingredient label of the OTC allergy medicine you choose, and understand the potential side effects of the active ingredient. Some antihistamines cause drowsiness, while others are non-drowsy.

Medicine Form

Not every allergy medicine is made in pill form. OTC allergy medicines may come as liquids, eye drops, or nasal sprays. What medicine form works best for your needs? If you have a hard time taking pills, you may want to opt for a liquid allergy medicine or a dissolvable tablet.

Symptoms

Different allergy medicines target different symptoms. Consider which symptoms you suffer from when determining which OTC allergy medicine will work best for you. If you struggle more with nasal symptoms, you may want a nasal spray like Flonase. If your symptoms are mainly eye related, look for eye drops like Pataday.

Best Overall OTC Allergy Medicine - Zyrtec Cetirizine HCL/Antihistamine

Best Overall OTC Allergy Medicine - Zyrtec Cetirizine HCL/Antihistamine

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Cetirizine HCl
  • Medicine form: Tablet
  • Active ingredient: Cetrizine
  • Age recommendation: 6 years and older
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes

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Zyrtec is a non-drowsy over-the-counter allergy medicine that contains cetirizine HCL as its main ingredient. The non-drowsy formula makes it ideal for day-to-day use. Zyrtec is an effective way to keep everyday allergy symptoms at bay, such as sneezing and runny nose.

This allergy medicine offers 24-hour relief and prescription strength and is effective in treating indoor and outdoor allergies. Zyrtec takes about one hour to kick in, and it will continue to work effectively if you take it daily.

What We Like

  • All-day relief
  • Works quickly
  • Suitable for children (6 years and up)
  • Non-drowsy formula, great for daytime use
  • Works for indoor and outdoor allergies

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for long-term use
  • May not work effectively for everyone

BUY: Zyrtec Cetirizine HCL/Antihistamine

Best OTC Allergy Eye Drops - Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength

Best OTC Allergy Eye Drops - Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Olopatadine
  • Medicine form: Eye drops
  • Active ingredient: Olopatadine
  • Age recommendation: 2 years and older
  • Symptoms: Itchy eyes

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If you struggle with eye allergies, having an effective eye drop on hand can make all the difference. Few things compare to the annoyance of having itchy, watery, dry eyes. Many people struggle with eye-related symptoms when they are allergic to dust, pollen, and animal dander.

Pataday is an antihistamine eye drop designed to relieve eye allergy symptoms within minutes. You can use these eye drops to tame the annoying symptoms of mild allergies or to keep an allergic reaction at bay when it flares up. Just add one drop to each eye once a day.

What We Like

  • Works quickly
  • Provides all-day relief
  • Suitable for adults and children
  • Uses antihistamine formula to stop allergies at the source

What We Don't Like

  • Can only be used once per day
  • Small bottles for the price point

BUY: Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength

Best OTC Allergy Nasal Spray - Nasacort 24hr Allergy Nasal Spray

Best OTC Allergy Nasal Spray - Nasacort 24hr Allergy Nasal Spray

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Triamcinolone acetonide
  • Medicine form: Nasal spray
  • Active ingredient: Triamcinolone acetonide
  • Age recommendation: 2 years and up
  • Symptoms: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose

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This antihistamine nasal spray is designed to help with nasal-related allergy symptoms such as congestion and runny nose. With 24-hour relief, it can help you get through the day even when you're struggling with pesky allergy symptoms.

Made with no scent and no harsh taste, this spray is easy to use and won't cause the discomfort of strong, chemical tastes. It’s also safe for ages two and up, so it can be used by adults and children.

What We Like

  • Provides 24-hour relief
  • Non-drowsy formula
  • No scent or taste
  • Recyclable packaging

What We Don't Like

  • Comes with only 1 bottle per package
  • May need to be paired with other allergy medicine for severe symptoms

BUY: Nasacort 24hr Allergy Nasal Spray

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Kids - Zyrtec 24-Hour Children's Allergy Syrup Twin Pack

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Kids - Zyrtec 24-Hour Children's Allergy Syrup Twin Pack

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Cetirizine HCl
  • Medicine form: Liquid
  • Active ingredient: Cetirizine HCl
  • Age recommendation: 2 years and up
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, itching of the nose or throat

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Few things compare to watching your little one struggle with sickness and allergies. This child-friendly allergy syrup is safe for kids two years and older and helps relieve all common allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and itching.

With cetirizine as the active ingredient, the pediatrician-recommended non-drowsy formula is safe for daytime use. This allergy medicine also comes in dye-free and sugar-free varieties.

What We Like

  • Safe for kids 2 years and older
  • Pediatrician recommended
  • 1 dosage provides 24-hour relief
  • Dye-free and sugar-free options

What We Don't Like

  • Some may consider it expensive
  • Check the expiration date—some buyers found that it expires quickly

BUY: Zyrtec 24hr Children's Allergy Syrup Twin Pack

Best Non-Drowsy OTC Allergy Medicine - Alavert 24-Hour Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief

Best Non-Drowsy OTC Allergy Medicine - Alavert 24-Hour Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Loratadine
  • Medicine form: Dissolvable tablet
  • Active ingredient: Loratadine
  • Age recommendation: 6 years and up
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, itching in the throat or nose

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Alavert Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief features dissolvable tablets made with loratadine as the active ingredient. This allergy medicine is non-drowsy and is ideal for daytime use. The quick-dissolving tablets are great for anyone who has difficulty swallowing standard tablets. You take only one tablet per day for all-day relief of common allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.

What We Like

  • Dissolvable tablets work quickly
  • Non-drowsy formula
  • 1 dosage provides all-day relief

What We Don't Like

  • Not suitable for children younger than 6 years old
  • May cause side effects in some individuals. Talk with your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.

BUY: Alavert 24hr Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Runny Nose - Xyzal Allergy 24-Hour

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Runny Nose - Xyzal Allergy 24-Hour

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Levocetirizine dihydrochloride
  • Medicine form: Tablets
  • Active ingredient: Levocetirizine dihydrochloride
  • Age recommendation: 6 years and up
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, itching of the nose or the throat

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Prescription-strength Xyzal allergy medicine is made with the antihistamine levocetirizine dihydrochloride. It works quickly and only requires one dosage per 24 hours.

Xyzal provides daytime and nighttime relief with an effective and powerful formula. Expect to feel its effects within one hour of taking a tablet.

What We Like

  • Prescription-strength formula
  • Provides daytime and nighttime relief
  • Works well for nasal symptoms like runny nose

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than some of the other options
  • Some side effects may occur

BUY: Xyzal Allergy 24hr

Best OTC Medicine for Pollen Allergies - Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

Best OTC Medicine for Pollen Allergies - Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Fluticisone propionate
  • Medicine form: Nasal spray
  • Active ingredient: Fluticisone propionate
  • Age recommendation: 4 years and up
  • Symptoms: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose

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Among the most inconvenient allergy symptoms are nasal symptoms like congestion and a runny nose. It can be so hard to focus on doing your job or get in a good workout when you feel like you can barely breathe.

Flonase is an effective way to overcome nasal symptoms from pollen allergies. It comes as a nasal spray and provides all-day, prescription-strength relief.

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Effective formula
  • Relieves nasal symptoms like congestion and runny nose

What We Don't Like

  • Not suitable for children younger than 4
  • The sprayer can get clogged up after repeated use

BUY: Flonase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Itchy Eyes - Bausch and Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

Best OTC Allergy Medicine for Itchy Eyes - Bausch and Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Ketotifen
  • Medicine form: Eye drops
  • Active ingredient: Ketotifen
  • Age recommendation: 3 years and up
  • Symptoms: Itchy eyes

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These antihistamine eye drops are ideal for anyone who struggles with eye-specific allergy symptoms like Itchy, red, and watery eyes.

Use these eye drops for 12-hour relief. The active ingredient, ketotifen, stops allergies at the source, working quickly and effectively.

What We Like

  • Stops eye allergy symptoms effectively
  • Provides 12-hour relief
  • Works quickly

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't work as long as some other options
  • Smaller bottle than some other options

BUY: Bausch and Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops

Best OTC Allergy Liquid Medicine - Xyzal Children's Oral Solution

Best OTC Allergy Liquid Medicine - Xyzal Children's Oral Solution

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Levocetirizine dihydrochloride
  • Medicine form: Oral liquid
  • Active ingredient: Levocetirizine dihydrochloride
  • Age recommendation: 2 years and up
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, itching of the throat or nose

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This oral allergy liquid is designed specifically for children. One dosage works within an hour and provides 24 hours of relief for children over the age of two years.

Not surprisingly, Xyzal Children’s Oral Solution features a kid-friendly flavor and formula. Taken before bed, it will bring your child a restful night’s sleep without interruption from allergy symptoms.

What We Like

  • Kid-friendly flavors
  • Provides daytime and nighttime relief
  • Works quickly and effectively
  • No dyes

What We Don't Like

  • May not work well for everyone
  • Some negative side effects are possible. Read the instructions and talk with your pediatrician before using.

BUY: Xyzal Children's Oral Solution

Best Prescription-Strength OTC Allergy Medicine - Zyrtec Prescription-Strength Allergy Tablets

Best Prescription-Strength OTC Allergy Medicine - Zyrtec Prescription-Strength Allergy Tablets

SPECS

  • Antihistamine type: Cetirizine HCl
  • Medicine form: Tablets
  • Active ingredient: Cetirizine HCl
  • Age recommendation: 6 years and older
  • Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, itching of the nose or throat

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Zyrtec prescription-strength allergy medicine provides powerful, all-day relief from allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy. With cetirizine HCl as the active ingredient, this everyday allergy medicine works quickly and lasts a long time.

Zyrtec tablets work for indoor and outdoor allergies and can be used for daytime relief. Use for outdoor allergies like pollen or indoor allergies like dust and pets.

What We Like

  • Versatile–works well for all types of allergies
  • Long-lasting, powerful effect
  • Prescription-strength formula available over the counter

What We Don't Like

  • Not suitable for young children
  • Higher price point when compared with other options

BUY: Zyrtec Prescription-Strength Allergy Tablets

FAQs About OTC Allergy Medicine


What gets rid of allergies fast?

One of the best ways to manage allergy symptoms is with an OTC allergy medicine. Most allergy medicines work within one hour when taken in pill form. Other types of allergy medicine, such as eye drops and nasal sprays, may work faster.

How much allergy medicine should I take?

Always read the drug facts of the OTC allergy medicine for dosing information before you take it. If you still have questions, consult with your doctor to determine the best dose for you.

When is the best time to take allergy medicine?

It depends on the medicine. If you have an allergy medicine specifically designed for daytime relief, you can take it in the morning; however, some medicines are recommended to be taken before bed for all-day relief the following day.

What should I do when an allergy medication does not work?

If your allergy medicine isn't working, you may need to try a different type. You may need one that has a different active ingredient than what you used without success before. Pay attention to any negative side effects you experience, and talk with your doctor about what medicine may be best for you.

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