OTC vs. Immunotherapy: Which Allergy Treatment Is Best?

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Finding the Best Allergy Treatment for You

Did you know, OTC allergy medications such as Zyrtec and Claritin are not always the best thing to take when you're suffering from allergies? Most allergy sufferers resort to taking these medications because they believe it’s their only option. They may also believe treatment such as allergy shots are only for severe allergies, or those willing to go through a lot of effort to manage their allergies.

If you are an allergy sufferer, we have some good news. Fortunately, there is a middle ground in getting allergy treatment that is effective, yet low in cost. More importantly, it doesn’t require much time or effort on your part. It’s a win-win!

Learn more about transdermal immunotherapy, the best allergy treatment for anyone wanting to find effective relief from allergy symptoms.

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy gradually exposes your immune system to the allergens you have a reaction to. Over time, your immune system will become less reactive as it gets used to them. Eventually, your body will produce antibodies to block the allergen from triggering a reaction. After three to five years of immunotherapy, your allergies should drastically reduce and can even go away completely.

Why Should I Consider Immunotherapy as Allergy Treatment?

This type of allergy treatment may be administered in the form of topical creams, injections, and oral drops. As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to believe allergy immunotherapy isn’t an option for you because of the frequent, regular application and high cost.

However, transdermal immunotherapy in the form of a topical cream requires less effort, travel time between doctor’s visits, and is much more affordable than injections. Best of all, transdermal immunotherapy delivers the same results and works just as effectively as injections. Oral drops on the other hand may be more cost-effective than allergy shots, but they can be difficult to take if you cannot stomach the taste.

Overall, immunotherapy is ideal for allergy sufferers wanting a proactive allergy treatment that can prevent the severity and frequency of your reactions. Something OTC medications are not created to do.

Are OTC Medications Good for Managing Allergies?

OTC medications typically include oral antihistamines which are meant to decrease the effects of histamine, the substance your body releases during an allergic reaction. This is why they are taken when symptoms are occurring, rather than before they happen.


By targeting the chemicals that cause allergies, antihistamines can provide quick, temporary relief for symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Claritin) are two types of antihistamines that target symptoms after they have developed. These are considered first-generation antihistamines and are technically sedatives. Second-generation medications such as loratadine (Non-Drowsy Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are engineered to prevent sleepiness.

Decongestants and Nasal Sprays

Other OTC options include decongestants in the form of pills or tablets to help clear the nasal passages. Allergic reactions result in swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages, which are what cause sneezing fits. Similarly, nasal sprays provide the same benefits as decongestants but are sprayed directly into the nostrils.

Eye Drops

Antihistamine eye drops are also available if most of your symptoms manifest as red, itchy, and swollen eyes. These drops are formulated to stop symptoms and reduce eye irritation.

When Should I Use OTC Medications?

Using all of these medications as an allergy treatment can be helpful if you don’t experience symptoms often. For example, these may be helpful for traveling to new areas and you are getting accustomed to the local pollen and allergens.

What are the Downsides of Taking OTC Medications?

The issue with over-the-counter medications is that they are not effective in preventing symptoms. They work best when taking the medication as soon as you have symptoms, so in order to get relief from these, you must suffer first!

Negative side effects can also develop if these are taken too long. First-generation antihistamines can make you drowsy as they are also used for motion sickness. They have been reported to cause depression and psychomotor impairment. Decongestants can potentially increase your blood pressure and heart rate along with insomnia and tremors. Nasal sprays are not recommended for daily use either, as they can cause an increase in inflammation and exacerbate your symptoms.

What Types of Allergies Does Immunotherapy Work For?

Perennial Allergies

Immunotherapy works incredibly well for perennial or year-round allergies. These include allergies to mold, pets, dust mites, cockroaches, and rodents.

Triggers can be hard to avoid as they are not caused by seasonal pollen growth. Mold can grow virtually anywhere, all it needs is warmth and humidity to thrive. Pet allergies can be disheartening for animal lovers who enjoy spending time with their pets. For pets, it’s the urine, saliva, and skin dander that causes the reaction. Dust mites are impossible to avoid, as they are microscopic and can be hard to fully get rid of.

For perennial allergies, immunotherapy as a proactive allergy treatment is considered optimal for keeping symptoms at bay.

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, are common during certain times of the year when pollen counts are high. Trees, grass, and flower pollen can make going outside miserable for those who suffer from this type of allergy.

Although OTC meds can help, beginning allergy treatment before your seasonal allergies flare-up is the easiest way to ensure the greatest results. Early spring brings tree pollen that spreads through the air. By summer, grass and weed pollen are airborne. In the fall, ragweed and mold allergies are at their worst thanks to the wet weather.

Starting allergy immunotherapy before your seasonal allergies start will better protect you as allergies come into season. Get ahead of your symptoms by desensitizing your immune system now.

How Can I Get Started with Allergy Immunotherapy?

Once you have decided that your allergy symptoms need a stronger line of defense than just OTC medications, take our quiz to see if transdermal allergy immunotherapy is right for you. Because our allergy treatment is cost-effective, simple to use, and works better than anything you could buy at the store, we recommend getting started right away.

Click the button below to take the quiz and determine if ShotFree Allergy is your solution to finding an allergy treatment that finally works!

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