Essay Writing Samples

Top 5 Solutions for Allergy Relief: An MLA Essay

While others are outside enjoying the sunshine, allergy victims must hide inside, protecting themselves from all manner of plant assault. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are numerous natural, over the counter, prescription, and, even, surgical solutions designed to put the fun back in spring. This sample health essay explores the top five solutions for allergy relief.

Understanding allergies

Pollen.com, a clearinghouse on allergy information, research, treatment, and prevention, defines an allergy as:

“A heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance…that causes the body’s defense system…to overreact when defending itself” (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”).

In other words, an allergy is when the body tries to expel something it believes doesn’t belong there (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”). Typically, the body only expels harmful substances, such as bacteria, from the body (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”). For people who are allergic to a non-harmful substance, the body misidentifies it as dangerous (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”). Most allergens (i.e. the cause of allergies) include eczema, hives, hay fever, and asthma (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”). Yet some people suffer from food, pet dander, airborne pollen, and insect bites (Pollen.com, “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms”).

Natural remedies

While medical science still is the go-to guy for allergy relief – including over the counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, natural relief became popular several years ago. Natural remedies have considerably less side effects than other prescribed drugs, including the newer, more expensive antihistamines on the market (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”). Some experts even believe nature’s medicine cabinet offers more emotional and physical health benefits with less cost to your body.

Mary Hardy, Integrative Medicine Director at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, said:

“Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try” (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”).

The most popular natural relief on the market is butterbur (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”). Butterbur – also known by its scientific name as Petasites hybridus – has resulted in various positive allergy relief outcomes (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”). Tests show one tablet of butterbur extract taken four times daily is just as effective as antihistamine drugs (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”). Butterbur helps control hay fever symptoms without the drowsiness caused by antihistamines (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) and United Kingdom researchers successfully tested the effective prevention of grass allergy symptoms (WebMD, “Natural Allergy Relief”).

Over the counter relief

OTC medications are the most common allergy relief and are available at all retail pharmacies like ;Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. Most people flock to the corner drugstore and stock up on allergy staples before seeing a doctor. OTC medications never require a prescription, thus the name over the counter; come in either generic (i.e. store brand) or name brand; and are cost-effective (i.e. cheaper than most natural or prescription alternatives) (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”). OTC drugs offer the basic care needed for mild to medium, acute congestion, stuffy nose, etc. These drugs come in two main varieties: antihistamines and decongestants (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”).

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are used to stop the body from producing histamines, produced during an allergic reaction (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”). Antihistamines are available as pills or nasal spray. Pills prevent itching, sneezing, and runny nose, while the sprays prevent congestion, an itchy or runny nose, and postnasal drip (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”).

Popular brands include:

  • Allegra
  • Benadryl
  • Claritin
  • Chlor-Trimeton
  • Dimetane
  • Zyrtec
  • Tavist

Ocu-Hist is an OTC eye drop (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”). Another benefit to antihistamines is they build up in the body to prevent allergies from starting (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”).

Decongestants

Decongestants mainly work on one symptom. It helps prevent fluid from building up in the lining of your nose (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”). In turn, preventing this one symptom reduces swollen nasal passages and congestion (WebMD, “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants”).

Decongestants are available in:

  • Pills
  • Liquids
  • Nasal sprays (oxymetazoline and phenylephrine)

Prescribed medications

Patients turn to prescriptions when they need a larger dose than legally available OTC. Prescriptions typically are reserved for patients with severe and chronic allergies, not acute or mild to medium symptoms (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”). Like OTCs, prescription allergy relief is narrowed by two basic groups: antihistamines and decongestants. The only difference is dosage types and sometimes additional fillers to help patients absorb the medications.

Like OTCs, prescription allergy relief is narrowed by two basic groups:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Steroids

The only difference is dosage types and sometimes additional fillers to help patients absorb the medications. Doctors rely on steroids less than other medications due to health concerns that come with prolonged use.

Medications at these level tend to sedate and cause severe interactions with other prescribed medications, OTCs, natural supplements, and medical conditions (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”). Patients are advised to alert their doctor to any and all medications and conditions prior to taking prescription allergy medications (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”).

There are two major competitors on the market: Zyrtec and Claritin. Both are basic antihistamines used to reduce allergic reactions to seasonal allergens (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”). Zyrtec contains cetirizine, and Claritin contains loratadine, both non-sedating antihistamines, making them popular among working adults and school-aged children (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”).

Zyrtec and Claritin are newer, popular drugs that cause less side effects, including drowsiness and lethargic behavior (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”). Decongestant varieties are available in products with a “-D” at the end of the name (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”). Both medications are available as OTC or prescription strength (Holland, “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief” and Mayo Clinic Staff, “Allergy medications: Know your options”).

Surgical solutions

If natural remedies, OTC medications, and prescription drugs don’t work, there are other solutions and options for the most severe allergies. Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialists perform surgery on the worst cases of allergies (WebMD, “Allergic Rhinitis – Surgery”). Surgery is used to increase sinus drainage, preventing allergic reactions (WebMD, “Allergic Rhinitis – Surgery”).

ENT doctors often remove infected, swollen, or damaged tissue; bone; growths or polyps; and foreign objects blocking the nasal or sinus passage (WebMD, “Allergic Rhinitis – Surgery”). While adults may receive sinus surgery to open airways and increase drainage, most surgeries are performed on children under age 16 (WebMD, “Allergic Rhinitis – Surgery” and WebMD, “Sinusitis – Surgery”).

Conclusion

Allergies cause significant strain on our everyday lives. Whether it’s the cost of medication and care, missed days from work or school, or stress and anxiety, allergies impact us on a deeper level than most common ailments. Taking better care of our bodies is the first step in preventing allergies from occurring in the first place. Focus on filtration units inside the home, and clean them regularly. Purchasing filters designed to eliminate pollen, spores, dust, mites, and pet dandruff help relieve allergies. Prevention inside the home and taking care of the body helps eliminate most of the common causes of allergies. But, if this doesn’t help, look for medications that are easier on the system, don’t cause drowsiness, and fight all triggers.

Works Cited

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) Medical Scientific Council. “Allergy Overview.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Sept. 2015. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.aafa.org/page/allergies.aspx.

Holland, Kimberly. “Zyrtec vs. Claritin for Allergy Relief.” Healthline. 31 March 2015. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/zyrtec-vs-claritin#Overview1.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Allergy medications: Know your options.” Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions: Allergies. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/v-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy-medications/art-20047403.

Pollen.com. “What are Allergies and Its Symptoms.” Pollen.com. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. ;https://www.pollen.com/allergy/what-is-allergy.

WebMD. “Allergic Rhinitis – Surgery.” Allergies Health Center. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/allergic-rhinitis-surgery.

— “Allergy Relief: Antihistamines vs. Decongestants.” Allergies Health Center. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/antihistamines-1.

— “Natural Allergy Relief.” Allergies Health Center. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/natural-allergy-relief.

— “Sinusitis – Surgery.” Allergies Health Center. N.d. Web. 6 May 2016. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/sinusitis-surgery.

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