Lifestyle Steps That Make A Difference
Since avoiding exposure to allergens is always better than trying to treat the symptoms they cause, follow these tips as much as possible:
Reduce exposure to allergens outdoors
When the pollen count is high, limit your time outdoors, especially on windy days. If youre used to exercising outdoors, try classes at a gym or follow one on your computer. Being outdoors in the afternoon is often less of a problem than in the morning, when pollen counts are higher. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes and a pollen mask can shield your nose and mouth.
Reduce exposure to allergens indoors
Keep pollen out by keeping windows closed. Use air conditioning, not a window fan that draws pollen inside.
Clean in a way that traps and removes allergens. A vacuum with a HEPA filter will capture very tiny particles. Damp dusting and damp mopping traps dust rather than spreading it around.
Encase pillows and mattresses in zippered cases to protect them from dust mites and other allergens. Wash the coverings in hot water 130 degrees or higher every week, along with sheets and pillowcases. Never hang linens and clothes outside to dry, where they could be a magnet for pollen traveling in a breeze.
If pet dander is a problem, be sure to keep your pets out of the bedroom. Close the air vents in your bedroom if you have forced-air or central heating or cooling so that particles cant travel through your house into your bedroom.
Can You Take Allergy Medications When Pregnant
Check with your practitioner to see what medications you can safely take during pregnancy. That goes even if you were already regularly taking prescription, over-the-counter or homeopathic medications: Don’t continue to use any of them until you get the go-ahead from a practitioner, who should be the first and final word on any allergy treatments you use.
That said, there are some general do’s and don’ts about allergy medications during pregnancy:
Herbals And Dietary Supplements
During pregnancy, herbal remedies are used for nausea, respiratory symptoms, urinary tract infections, pain, and other nonspecific issues.40 However, there are few human data on the safety of herbal remedies in pregnancy. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 requires manufacturers to ensure the safety of supplements before marketing. However, there is no registration process with the FDA, which takes action only if a supplement is found to be unsafe after marketing.41 Herbals were not included in the NBDPS until the year 2000. According to a subanalysis of the NBDPS, 10.9% of women use herbals during pregnancy, most commonly peppermint, cranberry extract, herbal teas, ginger, chamomile, Echinacea, ginseng, raspberry leaf, and ephedra products.42
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Avoid Certain Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
There are a number of medications that are not safe to take during pregnancy. First among them are oral decongestants.
Oral decongestants are best avoided altogether during the first trimester because of an uncertain risk of several rare birth defects, says Ciara Staunton, a family nurse practitioner and owner of Staunton Primary Care in Cincinnati. However, Sudafed , which is locked up behind the pharmacy counter, can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without hypertension.
But Staunton warns that Sudafed-PE , the over-the-counter option, should never be taken during pregnancy. It is less effective than pseudoephedrine. But more importantly, its safety for pregnant women is questionable.
Ms. Staunton also recommends against using any herbal therapies during pregnancy. In the United States and most other countries, herbal medicines are minimally regulated and not monitored for adverse events.
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Safety Of Antihistamines During Pregnancy
Although pruritus is not a life-threatening medical condition, it can be extremely troublesome for pregnant women. Because of potential effects on the fetus, the treatment of pruritus in pregnancy requires prudent consideration. At one point, the physician will have to use the antihistamines and weigh the benefits against the teratogenic effects of the antihistamines. Physicians must decide whether to select an older, better-studied antihistamine, thought to be relatively safe during pregnancy, or a newer agent that has less adverse effect on quality of life but has a potential teratogenic effect.
Various recommendations and studies favor the use of first generation antihistamines for use during pregnancy. They point out that these antihistamines were in use for a longer period of time and were more widely used during pregnancy. More data are available about the various effects of the first generation antihistamines in pregnancy. Moreover a few of the second generation agents have been reported to be associated with an increased incidence of certain congenital malformations.
In 1993, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Working Group on Asthma and Pregnancy recommended the first-generation agents chlorpheniramine and tripelennamine as the antihistamines of choice during pregnancy, based on duration of availability as well as reassuring animal and human data.
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Safe Constipation Remedies During Pregnancy
- Metamucil, Citracel, Fibercon, Benefiber
- Stool softeners colace ,1 tablet 2-3 times a day, pericolace ,1 tablet 1-3 times a day
- Laxatives such as Milk of Magnesia, Correctal, Fleets enema and Miralax
- Imodium liquid or capsules for diarrhea
- Psyllium, which is the basic ingredient in Konsyl and Metamucil
Safe Cough And Sore Throat Remedies During Pregnancy
- Dextromethorphan or Dextromethorphan-guaifenesin, such as Robitussin and Robitussin DM. 120 mg in 24 hours
- Nasal drops or sprays
- Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, for aches, pains, sore throat and fever
- Salt water gargling
- Menthol rub on chest, temples and under the nose
- Chloraseptic spray
- Nasal strips
- Cough drops or lozenges containing benzocaine
- Expectorant during the day
Cough and Flu Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Bactrim, an antibiotic
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Allergy Immunotherapy In Pregnancy
It is best not to start immunotherapy if you are planning a pregnancy. In the case when pregnancy occurs during allergy immunotherapy, the therapy can be continued:
- if a maintenance dose is taken,
- the medicine is administered with sublingual drops ,
- and the dosage is well tolerated.
It is not recommended for nursing mothers to start allergy immunotherapy. If the need for breastfeeding coincided with the successful completion of therapy, then you can continue immunotherapy and breastfeed.
At the end of the article, I publish several slides from the Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology with comments from an allergist
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If Youd Rather Not Take Medication There Are Other Ways You Might Be Able To Manage Your Allergies
The best defense against allergies is avoiding your triggers. If youre allergic to dander, try to stay away from pets so you dont trigger an attack. You cant control what happens outside, but keep your windows closed in the early morning and early evening hours, when the pollen count is at its highest. Wear a mask to dust or vacuum around the house, and get an air purifier for your bedroom. You may also want to consider getting a dehumidifier, as keeping your home under 50% humidity can help protect you against dust and mite allergies.
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Can I Use A Nasal Spray During Pregnancy
Some nasal sprays are safer than others. The good thing about nasal sprays is that the drug focuses primarily on the nose. It does not travel throughout the rest of the body.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays are mostly safe. They are prescribed to pregnant women with moderate to severe allergy symptoms that last longer than a few days. Budesonide is considered the safest. Mometasone and fluticasone are also considered safe.
Pregnant women should avoid antihistamine nasal sprays, as there is not enough research to prove their safety.
Always talk with your doctor about which nasal spray medication is right for you, as well as any medication risks to you and your baby.
Main Findings From This Study
- Scientific research suggests that using most types of antihistamines during pregnancy is not linked to birth defects.
- Out of 54 studies examined, 9 studies showed potential links between certain antihistamines and certain birth defects. Researchers need to study these potential links further.
- Researchers found many studies on antihistamine medications typically used to treat allergies, asthma, or nausea and vomiting .
- Examples of H1-receptor antagonists include diphenhydramine , dimenhydrinate , loratadine , and cetirizine .
- Talk with your doctor if you are pregnant and you have taken any medicine or are thinking of taking any medicine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as dietary or herbal products.
- Pregnant women should not stop or start taking any type of medication that they need without first talking with a doctor.
- If you are planning a pregnancy and are using any medications, please talk to your doctor about which medications are necessary and should be continued.
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Common Causes Of Hay Fever
You may feel the symptoms of hay fever at specific times of the year, when certain triggers, or allergens, are in the air. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. The allergens might include pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, fungi or moulds. If you experience year-round symptoms known as perennial allergic rhinitis your triggers might include common household allergens such as dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, fungi or moulds.
Can You Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
Brian Levine, MD, MS, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility . He is the director and founding partner of CCRM New York and was named a rising star by Super Doctors from 2017 to 2019.
Seasonal allergies can be tricky to manage in the best of times, but when youre pregnant , staying on top of your allergy symptoms feels like a major effort.
You dont want to take anything that could harm your baby, but you also cant spend any more days walking around in an allergy-induced fog. What is safe to take for your allergies while pregnant and what isnt? Heres a breakdown of your options.
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What Is The Best Allergy Medicine For Kids
The best allergy medicine for kids depends on your childs age, symptoms, and other health conditions. If your child is diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, treatment can include nasal sprays, such as cromolyn sodium, or oral antihistamines, such as loratadine , fexofenadine or cetirizine for mild or episodic symptoms.3 Zyrtec has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children older than 6 months of age. Claritin and Allegra have been approved for use in children age 2 and older. Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin are available in a liquid syrup formulation that is specially dosed for children.
For children with severe allergy symptoms that are not relieved by oral medications, a steroidal nasal spray may be considered. Nasacort, Flonase and Nasonex have all been approved by the FDA for children over the age of 2 years. The dose is typically one spray per nostril, once daily. Nosebleeds are a common side effect of these nasal sprays but are usually nothing to worry about. Coating the insides of your childs nostrils with a saline gel, like Ayr, may help prevent this side effect.
If you are looking for an allergy medicine for a child of toddler age or older who is experiencing itchy eyes, consider topical allergy eye drops, such as olopatadine , for kids 3 years and older, or ketotifen , for children 2 years and older. These are antihistamine medications that can relieve itchy eyes due to allergens for up 12 hours.
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How To Reduce Your Symptoms While Pregnant
Unfortunately, one of best ways to reduce allergy symptoms is to avoid your triggers, but thats often easier said than done. You cant just lock yourself inside your house during ragweed season!
But there are a few alternative remedies for cutting down on your exposure to allergens, says Dr. Jones. You can:
- Change your clothes after spending time outside or exposed to allergy triggers.
- Run a humidifier to remove allergens and impurities from the air.
- Stay hydrated.
- Use nasal saline irrigation.
- Utilize air conditioning in your car and home instead of keeping the windows open.
Of course, if youre still struggling with your allergy symptoms, you should reach out for additional help.
Don’t hesitate to chat with your physician or midwife regarding your symptoms and seek their expert advice what can be done, says Dr. Jones.
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How Pregnancy Can Affect Allergies
If youve already noticed that youre more bothered by allergies, youre not alone. Studies suggest that allergy symptoms increase for 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women. But allergies are also unpredictable. Some women find no change while others say theyre less affected when pregnant, and still others develop allergies for the first time.
Though having allergies can be difficult for you, the allergies themselves dont seem to affect your baby directly. What you take for them, however, could pass to him or her in the womb. The problem is that it’s not entirely clear which drugs do this, making it hard to know whats truly safe, according to research in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Also, few studies have looked at the best ways to treat allergies in pregnant women.
How Might Allergies Affect Your Pregnancy And Baby
If you have allergies, you can definitely have a safe, healthy pregnancy. In fact, your baby likely won’t notice a thing in there, even if you’re feeling pretty lousy.
Tell your doctor about your symptoms, and always check before using any medication even those you were regularly taking before conceiving .
Also, try as best as you can to steer clear of known allergy triggers when possible .
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When Should You See An Allergist
- If your symptoms make it hard to breathe or are otherwise interfering with your quality of life
- If your allergies are causing chronic sinus infections
- If you have allergies during a large part of the year
- When your OTC allergy medication isn’t working or is causing intolerable side effects
- If you have symptoms that might be asthma-related, like wheezing or coughing
What About Immunotherapy
If you’ve been getting these shots, it should be safe to continue them during pregnancy, as long as you’re not experiencing any negative side effects. But, if not, wait until after baby arrives to start it. That’s because its hard to tell how you might react to the shots.
According to a report in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, the same guidelines apply to sublingual immunotherapy which involves taking tablets that dissolve under the tongue.
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Can I Prevent Allergies
While people with allergies cannot prevent the condition, they can try to avoid or reduce exposure to allergens or triggers. Pollen is a common allergen in Australia, and can be hard to avoid, but to minimise your exposure you could try to:
- stay indoors where possible during pollen season, on windy days, or after thunderstorms
- avoid activities that expose you to pollen, such as mowing grass
- shower as soon as you can after youve been exposed to pollen
- switch your car air-conditioning setting to use re-circulated air when pollen levels are high
Taking Hay Fever Medication In Pregnancy
If youre pregnant you should always try and seek advice from your GP or pharmacist before you take any sort of medication. Not all medications can be taken safely during pregnancy, as some may affect the development and growth of the baby.
If you have mild hay fever, or dont experience symptoms, its best to avoid taking medication, as its not necessary. Before taking medication there are some preventative measures that can be taken to avoid your exposure to pollen.
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Watch The Pollen Count
Primarily, pollens in the air cause spring allergies. Pollens come primarily from trees and grasses. When pollen grains get into the nose, the immune system mistakenly labels them as foreign and releases antibodies to attack these allergens.
That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger runny noses, itchy eyes and other symptoms.
Avoiding triggers is the first and best option, although it is admittedly difficult. Pollens circulate more on windy days. The higher the pollen count, the more miserable one will be. Many cities publicize daily pollen counts. When counts are high or when it is windy, keep windows and doors closed. If possible, stay inside.
Is It Safe To Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
As if you didnt have enough on your mind.
Not only are you managing the challenging time of pregnancy , but allergy season is in full bloom. This means you can add watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose and other symptoms to your already crowded plate.
But before you grab your regular remedy, you have to carefully determine if allergy medicine is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
While it is safe to take certain allergy medicines while pregnant, you must carefully read labelsnot all over-the-counter medicines are appropriate to use.
If you have seasonal or chronic allergies, we want to know about it so we can help you find treatment that is both safe and effective, so you can take allergy medicines while pregnant said Dr. Carrie Miller. Were interested not just in your obstetrical health, but your overall physical health as well. You should use caution when taking any allergy medicine while youre pregnant or breastfeeding. We know there are a lot of allergy medicines to choose fromand it can be somewhat overwhelmingbut just remember that we are here to answer any questions you have. Just call us and well find a solution that is safe for both you and baby.
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