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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are antihistamines or intranasal corticosteroids more effective?

    My daughter seems to be getting terrible hayfever recently and I wanted to know which treatment is best.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Prof Ron Walls

    Pathologist (Immunologist)

    These two forms of treatment work in different ways and they are not interchangeable.

    Antihistamines work by reducing the symptoms and they work within half an hour usually of taking the antihistamine. Intranasal corticosteroids should be regarded as preventives of the allergic reaction in the nose, in a similar way to the use of preventives in inhaled steroids for the lungs. There is a big misunderstanding here that if people take a few puffs of the intranasal steroids that this will relieve their hay fever immediately. But it doesn't have this effect. It often takes a number of days for the effects to build up. The intranasal steroids should be continued.

    These medications are not interchangeable by and large, and if your daughter has severe hay fever and it is continuing, the intranasal steroids tend to be more effective than the antihistamines.

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