What To Use For Sinus Allergies If You Can't Use Nose Sprays

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses what to use for sinus allergies if you don't tolerate nose sprays.


Never had sinus allergies until Feb. Have tried nasal sprays but they all make me sneeze. Help.

Asked by misspea On Jun 16, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 18, 2018

Nasal AllergyThere are many different options for treating seasonal allergies, including sinus/nasal symptoms, with over the counter medications.

If using any of the various medicated or non-medicated nasal sprays makes you sneeze, you still have a few options. The most common over the counter treatment for seasonal allergies are a group of once daily medications known as non-sedating antihistamines (H1-Blockers). Non-sedating antihistamines are approved for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis, chronic urticaria (a type of skin rash), as well ocular pruritis (using ophthalmic drop formulation).

The most common over the counter non sedating antihistamines available are: 

  • Claitin (loratidine)
  • Zyrtec (certirizine)
  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Xyzal (levocertirizine)

These non-sedating antihistamines may be taken with or without food and may be taken in the morning or in the evening. Common side effects associated with taking non-sedating antihistamines include but are not limited to:

  • Drowsiness (less likely but still experienced by some individuals)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

If for some reason you do not tolerate a non-sedating antihistamine or they are not strong enough for you, over the counter Benadryl is also an option for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies. The main drawbacks of using Benadryl over a non sedating antihistamine would be the increased risk for sedation as well as the more frequent dosing. However, Benadryl may be more effective than a non-sedating antihistamine when dealing with severe symptoms.

Lastly, in terms of nose sprays, you may want to try Flonase Sensimist, which is generally better tolerated than most other nasal sprays. We wrote an article regarding Flonase Sensimist, which can be found here: Flonase Vs. Flonase Sensimist: What Is The Difference?

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Adam DeRue Pharm.D

Dr. Adam DeRue is a Doctor Of Pharmacy and registered pharmacist.

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