"It's reasonable to try some of the over-the-counter drugs first, and if you're not satisfied with those results, then you need to see a doctor," Dr. David Khan, an allergy specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said in a statement.
Antihistamines can usually help relieve itching, sneezing and runny noses, but don't generally help with stuffiness. Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine target stuffy noses.
Physicians can prescribe different topical nasal sprays, including anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, antihistamines, and sprays combining corticosteroids and antihistamines, Khan said.
These prescription nasal sprays are more effective than over-the-counter allergy medications and are not addictive like over-the-counter nasal sprays.
However, allergy shots, which actually make sufferers less allergic, are still the most effective medical treatment, Khan said. Rush immunotherapy, which involves taking fewer shots over a shorter time period, gets allergy sufferers to an effective dose more rapidly.