Pros and Cons of Natural Alternative and Pharmaceutical Allergy Relief

By Heather Legg

With spring knocking at the door, many of us need to start thinking of allergy prevention and relief if we haven’t already. With so many choices of what to take, sometimes it is hard to make that decision. For people taking some sort of medication every day, sometimes more, it does matter what you take.

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of both pharmaceutical (over the counter and prescription) and natural allergy relief:

Pharmaceutical Pros:
• Regulated by FDA so you know exactly what you are taking
• Proven to work and provide relief
• Stricter guidelines on dosage and usage
• Sometimes covered by insurance
• Can enhance quality of life

Pharmaceutical Cons:
• Can cause numerous side effects including drowsiness, lack of attention and trouble sleeping.
• Some side effects may be unknown
• Often need to take on a regular basis

Alternative Pros:
• These are natural instead of contrived ingredients
• Can take as needed
• Few (if any) side effects.
• Some can be less expensive than other medications

Alternative Cons
• Not regulated by FDA
• Could have side effects/reactions that are unknown
• Usually insurance does not cover

Some people choose to do one or the other while others like a combination. For instance, you can take your regular over the counter allergy medicine, but add rooibois or green tea to your daily diet to help out. These teas have quercetin and anti oxidants which have been shown to help combat allergies. For those who don’t want any medicine, they can find different herbs and supplements to help with their allergies on their own. And for those who don’t trust the alternatives, or simply want the hard evidence that studies can offer on prescription and OTC medicine, they may choose to go that route alone.

The best thing of all of this is that we have so much choice. If you try something one season and it doesn’t do the trick, try something else. A lot of the alternatives can be used in combination with other things, so it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you. Make sure you give it enough time, though, which could mean up to a few weeks. Many people start taking their relief before the season kicks on, which is a good idea. Just be ready, allergy season is just about upon us!

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