Do over-the-counter allergy meds REALLY work?

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No doubt you’ve felt it lately.

Runny nose? Check.

Itchy, watery eyes?  Check, check.

Sneezing?  Yep, got that too.

Pollen is everywhere and it’s allergy season.

Many people are miserable including Blaine Valentine. 

“When the doctor walked in and said, ‘wow,'” Valentine told us with a smile. “Well, you don’t really want to hear your doctor say that.”

The father of two works outside the majority of his day.

He knows exactly how bad it can be right now as the pollen season is hitting its peak, according to experts. It runs from mid-February to April.

“Well, I’m here. I made an appointment, trying to get this straightened out,” Valentine said. “It’s been pretty bad.”

Valentine never knew he had allergies until the doctors tested for it when he came in feeling non-stop fatigue.

“The fatigue is beyond. I had no idea that allergies would make you that tired,” Valentine said. “Even after a full night’s rest, you’re tired.”

He explained his physician suggested allergy testing, which confirmed the doctor’s suspicions.

Dr. Richard Lockey is one of the foremost leading authorities on allergies in the country, studying the effects through extensive research at USF while treating patients since the early 1970s.

“It’s just a bad season every year because of all the oak trees here,” Dr. Lockey told WFLA.

We asked him if over-the-counter medications actually work.

“On a scale of one to 10, they’re ones and twos,” said Dr. Lockey.

“They’ll help the people who have minor problems. Those with major problems, they will not help, the antihistamines.”

He said people with severe hay fever and asthma usually need prescription medication.

Like Valentine, who says his allergies are causing chaos with sleep patterns.

“If you’re having problems sleeping, symptoms of sleep apnea, where you’re snoring like crazy, wheezing or coughing, you need to see somebody who knows what they’re doing and can treat this problem,” said Dr. Lockey.

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