Natural Allergy Remedies: 3 Tips For Safety
When it comes to allergy supplement safety, here are three things to keep in mind.
Risks and interactions. On the whole, the top allergy supplements seem to be reasonably safe. But check with a doctor before taking a supplement if you
Always follow the dosing advice of your doctor or pharmacist — or at least the directions on the label.
Long-term use. The longer you take any supplement , the greater the potential for toxicity and harm. Unfortunately, theres little evidence about the safety of using these natural allergy remedies for extended periods. So be cautious. Get your doctors opinion on any long-term treatments you want to try.
Allergic reactions. Theres another problem for people seeking allergy supplements: Many of the plants used for allergy treatment — such as butterbur, echinacea, and several others – are distant cousins to ragweed. So if youre suffering from a ragweed allergy, a dose of allergy supplements could theoretically make your symptoms worse.
Ive seen people who come into our offices because their ragweed allergies are being aggravated by their allergy supplements, says Rakel. Usually, the first thing we do is get them off all the stuff theyre using. The human body doesnt generally need a handful of supplements every day to stay well.
Taking Antihistamines With Other Medicines Food Or Alcohol
Speak to a pharmacist or GP before taking antihistamines if you’re already taking other medicines.
There may be a risk the medicines do not mix, which could stop either from working properly or increase the risk of side effects.
Examples of medicines that could cause problems if taken with antihistamines include some types of:
- stomach ulcer or indigestion medicines
- cough and cold remedies that also contain an antihistamine
Try not to drink alcohol while taking an antihistamine, particularly if it’s a type that makes you drowsy, as it can increase the chances of it making you feel sleepy.
Food and other drinks do not affect most antihistamines, but check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to make sure.
Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System To Fight Allergies
You may be able to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies by building your body’s defenses against them. Find out more about your immune system and allergies.
If you have seasonal allergies, chances are you’ve spent plenty of time cruising drugstore aisles looking for relief from allergy symptoms. You know just how wide a variety of medications there are both over-the-counter and prescription for seasonal allergies. What’s less well known is that you may also be able to get allergy relief by building up your defenses against them. Check out these tips to enhance your immune system and send allergies packing.
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Suffer From Hay Fever
- Difficulty passing urine .
- Stomach and gut upsets .
For a full list of all the side-effects and possible interactions associated with your medicine, consult the leaflet that comes with your medication.
How to use the Yellow Card Scheme
If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
The Yellow Card Scheme is used to make pharmacists, doctors and nurses aware of any new side-effects that medicines or any other healthcare products may have caused. If you wish to report a side-effect, you will need to provide basic information about:
- The side-effect.
- The name of the medicine which you think caused it.
- The person who had the side-effect.
- Your contact details as the reporter of the side-effect.
It is helpful if you have your medication – and/or the leaflet that came with it – with you while you fill out the report.
Asthma Allergies And Covid
Throughout the pandemic, having asthma was considered a risk factor for severe COVID-19. But new data show that people with asthma are relatively protected from severe COVID-19, said Geoffrey Chupp, MD, professor of medicine in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine at Yale School of Medicine .
We looked at 8,000 hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19, and we found that the patients who were diagnosed with asthma – about 10% of the patients – were more likely to survive compared to those people who didnt have asthma, Chupp said. He emphasized that the patients had asthma, not smoking-related lung diseases such as emphysema and COPD.
Its possible that some of the medications used for asthma helped to reduce the inflammation that COVID-19 causes, Chupp said. Its also likely that the type of immune response most asthmatics have, the allergic response, protected them from severe lung damage, he added.
However, after these patients recovered from COVID-19, their asthma became reactivated. As they healed, their natural immune response came back with more activity, explained Chupp. Were seeing a fair amount of post-COVID uncontrolled asthma. Most people do well but some have this persistence, a kind of long-hauler problem, although most of them will get better with time.
Asthma, Allergies & Pollen
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A New Generation Of Allergy Medicine
If you have suffered from allergies long enough, you may remember older medicines like Benadryl. These types were the only options available until new, over-the-counter drugs like Claritin became the go-to solution. Currently, newer allergy medications are generally better tolerated.
Not only that, overall access to these new medications has increased. Drugs like Flonase and Allegra were available by prescription only, until they made the switch and were offered over-the-counter within the last few years.
You may take one or a couple of these over-the-counter allergy medicines to cope with seasonal allergy symptoms:
- Antihistamines Your immune system produces a chemical called histamine when you breathe in an allergen like pollen. This chemical release can produce symptoms like nasal congestion. An antihistamine like Claritin or Benadryl is designed to block histamine from being released.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays Corticosteroids are designed to relieve the swelling inside the mucous membranes of the nose. These nasal spray medicines are often recommended first as a treatment of allergy symptoms.
- These medicines are designed to relieve nasal congestion, and come in spray or pill form. They are not recommended to be used for more than a few days.
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How Should I Prepare For Allergy Shots
You may want to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for 2 hours before and after your appointment. Thatâs because exercise boosts blood flow to the tissues and may cause the allergens to spread throughout your body faster. Itâs not likely to cause a serious problem, but itâs best to be safe.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines or herbs and supplements you take. Some medications interfere with the treatment or raise the risk of side effects. You may need to stop allergy shots if you take these medications.
Is It Safe To Take Antihistamines With Other Medicines
Some medicines may interact with antihistamines, increasing the side-effects of either or both medicines. Usually it is better to avoid taking antihistamines at the same time as certain medicines, including:
- Certain types of antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and lofepramine may interact with antihistamines. Other antidepressants such as moclobemide.
- Antacids, which may interfere with the way the antihistamine is absorbed, thus making it less effective.
- Other tablets which make you drowsy, as the combination may be too much. For example opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines and Z drugs.
- A group of medicines called antimuscarinics. This includes medicines such as hyoscine, oxybutynin, propantheline and tolterodine. Because these medicines can give you similar side-effects, such as a dry mouth or problems passing urine, the combination may make the side-effects more serious.
If you are buying your antihistamine from a pharmacy, make sure you tell the pharmacist if you take other medicines so they can advise accordingly.
Also watch the ingredients in other over-the-counter treatments. For example, remedies for coughs and colds may contain antihistamines, in which case you might end up taking double the dose by mistake.
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Whats The Difference Between First
Just like the name implies, the first generation antihistamine were the first type approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They began to be approved in the United States in the 1930s and are still prescribed today.
They work on histamine receptor in the brain and spinal cord along with other types of receptors. Most notable about this generation of antihistamines is that they cross the blood-brain barrier, which results in drowsiness.
Second-generation antihistamines were approved by the FDA and first came to market in the 1980s. The second-generation antihistamines do not cross the blood-brain barrier to the extent that first-generation do and therefore do not cause drowsiness at standard dosage levels. Second-generation antihistamines are considered to be safer than first generation antihistamines because they dont cause drowsiness and interact with fewer drugs.
Scientists Think They’ve Found A Way To Stop Allergic Reactions Before They Happen
If you’re one of the unlucky millions of people burdened by allergies, you know that sometimes there’s only so much antihistamines can do to help.
Researchers have been working to find more effective allergy treatments, and now they’ve discovered how a particular antibody can stop an allergic reaction from happening altogether.
An allergic reaction is the immune system’s way of completely overreacting to a normally benign substance, from proteins in cat saliva to surprisingly deadly peanuts.
When the body is exposed to an allergen, the immune system goes into overdrive producing ridiculous amounts of a specific type of antibody called immunoglobulin E . It’s a large, Y-shaped molecule that attaches itself to the immune cells tasked with releasing invader-attacking chemicals.
These compounds – especially histamine – go on to produce the varied and miserable symptoms of an allergy, whether it’s a runny nose and eyes, or the more serious anaphylactic reaction that accompanies severe food allergies or insect bites.
Allergy tablets typically target these immune system compounds or their receptors, therefore preventing or at least easing the allergy symptoms. But if we target IgE itself, there’s a chance to prevent the allergic reaction from even taking place.
A team led by scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark has now discovered a mechanism through which a particular anti-IgE antibody can make this miracle happen.
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I Am Using A Nasal Spray For Another Medical Condition I Have Can I Also Use Allergy Nasal Sprays At The Same Time
In general, you can use allergy nasal sprays while using other nasal sprays. Just wait at least 15 minutes after using one medication before using the next medication if you need to use them at the same time. Also, before you start, check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure there are no drug interactions between the two medications.
Natural Home Remedies For Allergic Reactions
First, its important to understand that you should never attempt to use natural or home remedies to manage severe allergic reactions, Dr. Gupta says. I would recommend using well-studied medications to treat serious reactions, she explains. Remember, a serious reaction could put you at risk of anaphylaxis, and calling 911 and administering epinephrine are the safest options in that situation.
But if you have very mild symptoms, the following drug-free strategies may help reduce the severity of symptoms, depending on your specific allergy:
- A saline nasal rinse can help clear irritants like pollen and dust out of your nasal passages to clear congestion, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- A cool compress can help deliver soothing relief for skin rashes or irritation.
- A vacuum cleaner can help get allergens like pet dander out of your floors.
- An air purifier with a HEPA filter can help clear allergens out of the air in your home. Keeping the windows closed helps too.
- A humidifier can add moisture into the air to help relieve your runny nose, dry throat, or congestion.
If you have sensitivities to pollen or plants, steer clear of herbal remedies unless you get the green light from your doctor, even if they seem harmless. For example, chamomile tea can seem very soothing, but people who are allergic to ragweed, daisies, and marigolds can also be allergic to chamomile.
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How To Take Antihistamines
Depending on your symptoms, you can take antihistamines:
- Every day, to help keep daily symptoms under control
- Only when you have symptoms
- Before being exposed to things that often cause your allergy symptoms, such as a pet or certain plants
For many people with allergies, symptoms are the worst around 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Taking an antihistamine at bedtime may help you or your child feel better in the morning during allergy season.
Are There Side Effects Associated With Oral Medications For Allergies
Oral medications for allergies include antihistamines, decongestants, and leukotriene receptor antagonists. The side effects depend on the type of medication. Side effects of antihistamines may include dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, difficulty urinating, fatigue, headache, nausea, and sore throat.
For decongestants , headache, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremor, increase in blood pressure, and trouble sleeping may occur.
For the class of medication called leukotriene receptor antagonists , common side effects include diarrhea, stomach pain, flu-like symptoms, headache, thirst, itchy skin, and rash.
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Be Smart Be Aware Of Allergy Medication Side Effects
Smart use of allergy medications knowing how they treat symptoms, being aware of potential unwanted side effects and, most important, monitoring their effect on you and your health is just one step toward controlling allergy and cold symptoms. Even more important: knowing what you are allergic to and taking steps to prevent or reduce exposure.
If your allergy symptoms tend to last longer than two weeks or are not adequately controlled with over-the-counter medications, schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist for a full diagnosis.
Antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids are intended for symptom relief. If antihistamines or intranasal corticosteroids are causing side effects such as drowsiness or other problems, there are other treatment options your doctor can offer you, such as allergen immunotherapy.
Reviewed by Dennis Williams, PharmD
8229 Boone Blvd, Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182
Can Allergies Lower Your Immune System
Spring is upon us and with it, the usual threat of seasonal allergies.
But to make matters worse, were in the midst of one of the worst cold and flu seasons in recent years. Which raises an interesting question do allergies weaken our immune system, and are those who suffer from allergies thus at greater risk of getting sick?
The short answer to that question is yes. While having allergies doesnt cause you to come down with a cold or the flu, the treatment of your allergies is a factor in your vulnerability to other illnesses. Heres why
Sometimes its difficult to tell the difference between allergies and illness. For example, if you start sneezing, have a runny nose and a sore throat, you may mistake the symptoms of an allergy for a cold. Its only when you start to have a fever or a headache and achiness that you realize its more than just an allergy. Plus, a cold may only linger for a week or so, while your allergies will be raging as long as youre exposed to the allergen.
However, if you do have ongoing allergies and they arent treated effectively, it could weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses and other germs. That, in turn, could enable your uncontrolled allergies to evolve into a sinus, ear, or upper respiratory infection.
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Which Antihistamine Is The Best
All antihistamines work pretty well to reduce symptoms of allergy. Your doctor or pharmacist may advise or prescribe a particular antihistamine depending on the cause of your allergy and on whether you require a sedating or non-sedating medicine. For example:
- In general, antihistamines are probably roughly equally effective in reducing the symptoms of hay fever and hives . However, non-sedating antihistamines tend to be used more commonly as they cause less drowsiness.
- Second-generation antihistamines are generally advised for most allergic situations as they cause less drowsiness.
- Cetirizine, fexofenadine, or loratadine are often recommended for urticaria.
- Antihistamine eye drops may be advised when itchy eyes are a particular problem – for example, azelastine eye drops or ketotifen drops.
- A sedating antihistamine may be particularly helpful at bedtime for children who have allergic symptoms. Cough medicines containing sedating antihistamines are not suitable for children under the age of 6 years, and a pharmacist’s advice is needed for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years.
For other conditions, specific antihistamines may be used. For example, cyclizine and promethazine teoclate are used for feeling sick and being sick , not for hay fever. Chlorphenamine is the antihistamine most used in an emergency situation such as anaphylaxis, and may be given by injection in this situation. Diphenhydramine is sold over the counter as a sleep remedy.