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A. Schuyler, NP
A. Schuyler, NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 16277
Experience:  Board Certified NP, MS, RN. 25 years private practice & hospitalist
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My allergies are acting up so I think. I currently take zyrtec

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My allergies are acting up so I think. I currently take zyrtec daily. I really haven't taken anything else, other than just puffed 2 sprays in each nostril of nasonex. What else besides a decongestant could I take?
Also, once symptoms start...and I stay away from the allergens, how long does it normally take for symptoms to get better?


Thanks for using Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to try to help you.


The options for treating allergies are antihistamines (Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl), decongestants (pseudoephrine, Sudafed, etc.) and steroids like Nasonex. With Nasonex, the maximum effect is seen two weeks after beginning to use it regularly, so it is better to begin using it about two weeks prior to the start of allergy season in your area. After one use it can take up to 12 hours to see results.


Rinsing your nose with salt water solution is a non-drug way to clear out the allergens. You can purchase a netipot for this at most pharmacies.


It can take a couple of weeks to recover if you can find some way to avoid all allergens that you are sensitive to. Most of us aren't lucky enough to be able to do that though.


Please let me know if you have questions.



All the best,



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So there is a good possible c hance I could feel like this for months if I don't stay clear of what irritates me?

I don't like taking the decongestants, I don't like the way they make me feel. I'll be consistent with the nasonex and try the netipot again.

Yes, those of us who suffer allergies know that it takes a few months until all the things we're allergic to have bloomed and the pollen is mostly all gone. For me that means Zyrtec from late March through June along with the netipot daily.


Like you, I also don't like decongestants, especially the long-acting ones. They have to peel me off the ceiling if I take one. I have had success taking just one at a time of the tiny red Sudafed tablets though. That helps with the congestion on bad days and I don't mind taking it more often (every 4-6 hours) as opposed to the 12-24 hour kinds that leave me a nervous mess. Not a pretty site for my patients Wink


Hope it will be a short allergy season for you this year,


All the best,



A. Schuyler, NP and other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
One more thing if that is ok.
I'm still somewhat new to allergies as I never have had them til about 2 years ago. This year so far I think I've finally had all the normal symptoms.
In the past my normal symptoms that I'd get would be facial and head pain and pressure.

About a month ago I had that too not long after a cold and then shortly after a sinus infection, I took an antibiotic and I got better.

Last weekend we went camping, on the hour ride there with the windows open, when we got there, my throat felt scratchy for at least 24 hours. I sucked on cough drops, then it started feeling better. Then by the time I got home (a few days later), my nose became it's my nose and my throat again and sometimes my eyes. When I blow my nose, it's clear...which means allergies right? Is that something common that would tell if it was something else?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I also have some shortness of breath and dry and sometimes productive cough.

Actually the only way to make 100% sure that it is allergies is to be tested. That will also tell you exactly what you are allergic to. Your primary provider can send you to an allergist for testing.


Clear nasal drainage can be allergies or a viral infection. It is colored, thick drainage that usually indicates a secondary bacterial infection. Most nasal problems start off as viral or allergic and then a secondary infection develops which causes the thick, milky to yellow mucus.


Allergic reactions typically start off with scratchy throat and itchy, watery eyes. Later can come sneezing and coughing. If your current symptoms clear up on their own after about 10-14 days from the start, it could be a mild viral infection. There really is no medical treatment for that; we just treat the symptoms which you are already doing.


Shortness of breath isn't common with allergies though. That is something that you should have evaluated by your primary provider.


It isn't rare for allergies to develop later in life. While my sister always had a bad time with them when we were children, I didn't until I was over 30. Goodness knows why it happened, but it did. My fraternal twin has no problem at all - lucky guy.


All the best,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
long story kinda short...
I started with facial pressure and headache pain 2 years ago...dr's told me it was sinus infections, so one antibiotic after another didn't help...I then started doing the netipot and while on another antibiotic went to see a ent and he said no to sinus infection sounds like tension headaches so he gave me fioricet...I felt good for months.
Jan of last year, pain started again...and I really didn't have the classic symptoms, I mainly had the pain and pressure in my head and face. For months and months I suffered and couldn't get an answer..I went to an ent got a cat scan, etc...i have a deviated septrum (sp??) but no known cause of sinus problems. Went to see regular dr over and over, finally went to see a neurologist...nothing....

May of last year, I went camping after just finishing antibiotics...I felt great that whole weekend...came home and not long after the pain came back. Then went away...then I went camping the end of may, felt great again, when i came home symptoms returned so i figured it was an allergy...made an appointment..
found out I'm allergic to..
dust mites
timothy grass
trees - maple
cats (I have 2 cats)
grasses (high or wild grasses)
Perennial Rye

he gave me semprex-d to take..tried it for weeks and did absolutely nothing for the pain and pressure.

Finally I stopped it went back to the zyrtec....went to my reg dr again, a different one in the same office.
we agreed that we both thought it was tension, gave me fioricet again and it helped...pain went away and stayed away for several months. I knew when I'd get the pain/pressure that it was tension...
til this past april...I had the pain, took fioricet and pain did not go aways...went to dr and sinus infection, took antibiotic and felt great.

just went camping last weekend and now I have all the symptoms...

Gee,it sounds like you have several different things going on.


Tension headaches are a problem all onto themselves. Fiorcet is one treatment. Learning to control the tension is a longer-term solution, but not as easy to learn to relax when you feel the tension building.


Sinus infections are yet another problem, and so are allergies, although an acute flare-up of allergies can possibly lead to sinus infection when your immune system is overwhelmed.


Sometimes it takes the patience of Job to sort them out.


Kind regards,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is it ok to use the netipot now being that I'm stuffy?
Would you recommend distilled water or is tap water ok?

I appreciate all your help.

If you are using municipal water, then tap water is fine. If you are using wel water, thhen boiling it first or using distilled water is better.


It's fine to use the netipot. The salt water will actually reduce some of the swelling.


Kind regards,



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The nasal rinse seems to be helping a little. I still have a productive cough...I can hear it as I'm trying to cough. I have some gunk coming up when I cough too...this could still be part of the allergies right?

Aside from pressure and pain in my face and head, should my cough be a concern for something else?

The continuing cough can mean that you have an infection since it is productive. They may want to check for bacteria and put you on an antibiotic if it is a bacterial infection. Viral infection isn't cured by antibiotics. Usually just taking it easy will allow your body to clear a viral infection on its own. Since the cough has gone on for a time now in spite of all your care, it is best to see your provider to learn if more intervention is needed to get you back to 100%.


All the best,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I just called my dr and hoping she'll call in an antibiotic. My mouth is achy now...if I remember right that is part of the infection too. I tried so hard to eliminate this but I guess it just wasn't good enough...sigh...

Sometimes all you can possibly do at home still isn't enough and you have to get that little extra nudge from medical help. It happens to me as well, and I have to see the colleague who is my primary.


Hope you feel better soon.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you!
tooth pain can happen with sinus infection right?

Yes, you can get some tooth pain in the upper jaw from infection in the maxillary sinuses.


Best regards,