A Doctors Guide To Choosing Allergy Medicine Wisely
Allergies can pop up throughout the year. You may be tempted to grab the closest antihistamine medicine to fend off your itchy eyes, sneezing, or a runny nose. Before you do, make sure the medicine wont do more harm than good.
There are different types of antihistamines, and some are better than others depending on your age, health, and other medications you take.
Older formulas work, but beware of side effects and bad interactions
Doctors often refer to the first type of antihistamines that were on the market as first-generation. They are great at treating allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, in some people, they can result in side effects like anxiety, confusion, feeling sleepy, blurred vision, reduced mental alertness, urinary retention and constipation. These effects are more common for anyone taking certain antidepressant medications.
Ingredients of first-generation antihistamines include brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine and doxylamine. Ask a pharmacist to help you compare products and read the labels if the print is too small. Some of the brand names for these products include Dimetapp Cold & Allergy, Chlor-Trimeton, Tavist, Benadryl, Vicks NyQuil and Tylenol Cold and Cough Nighttime.
The labels should also include warnings that people with certain medical conditions should not take first-generation antihistamines. Ask your doctor before use if you have:
New formulations have fewer side effects, but you still need to be cautious
Is It Coronavirus Or Allergies
One of the activities many of us can participate in while social distancing is going outside and enjoying the weather.
After all, from what we know about how the coronavirus spreads, it’s clear that outside is better than inside. However, for many, being outside also bring on the sniffles and sneezes of hay fever.
Unfortunately, novel coronavirus symptoms can look similar to many other conditions, including seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen being released into the air, causing some to have an allergic reaction. For anyone with hay fever, step outside, and you might sneeze or end up with itchy eyes.
This year, many people who are allergic to trees and grasses are worried that they could have the coronavirus.
Cold Vs Allergy Symptoms
Trying to figure out whether you are suffering from a cold or allergies? Some symptoms can be the same for both like sinus pressure, sneezing and runny nose, but some have distinct differences that lead you right to the cause. Talk to your doctor and answer these simple questions about your symptoms to help figure out if what you are feeling is likely a cold or allergies.
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Top 9 Natural Allergy Relief Home Remedies
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, one in five people, or an estimated 50 million Americans, suffer from some type of allergies. The chances are high that you or someone you know deals with ongoing allergies, whether seasonal allergies, food allergies or another type, and could use allergy relief at least from time to time.
Most people who struggle to find allergy relief go to the doctor to be treated and/or are routinely given pharmaceuticals ranging from acetaminophens to antihistamines, both of which may actually further aggravate the symptoms they were given for. If you prefer not to take prescriptions to keep your symptoms under a control, what can help allergies at home?
Home remedies for allergies including symptoms like congested sinuses, headaches, and watery or itchy eyes include using frankincense essential oil, eucalyptus oil and quercetin. Below youll learn about nine amazing, all-natural home remedies for allergies that can help provide fast allergy relief.
Take An Even Closer Look At Specific Symptoms
Probably a cold, not allergies.
Fever or chills
Probably a cold, flu, or another more serious condition. Allergies dont cause a fever.
Watery eyes could be either allergies or a cold. But if your eyes itch, it typically indicates allergies.
Notice the color of your mucus
Clear and watery mucus is most likely due to allergies. If its thick and discolored, its probably a cold.
If you experience prolonged symptoms, make an appointment with your healthcare professional or allergist to ensure the right diagnosis.
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Antihistamines For The Common Cold
Review questionWe reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of antihistamines on signs and symptoms of the common cold. We identified 18 trials with 4342 participants.
BackgroundOn average, young children have six to eight colds per year and adults have two to four. Common cold symptoms include sore throat, nasal stuffiness and discharge, sneezing and cough. It is caused by viruses and usually resolves by itself within one to two weeks. However, the common cold has a large impact on time off work or school.
As there is no cure for the common cold, only symptomatic treatment is available. Antihistamines are effective for allergic symptoms such as hay fever. Nasal symptoms of hay fever are similar to common cold symptoms and so trials have been conducted to see whether antihistamines improve common cold symptoms.
Study characteristicsThe evidence is current to August 2015.
The participants were adults or children with a common cold. We excluded studies with participants suffering from hay fever, asthma or eczema. The effect of different antihistamines was compared to placebo. A beneficial effect meant a decrease in the severity or duration of the general feeling of illness and/or of specific symptoms such as stuffy nose, runny nose or sneezing. We also investigated whether side effects were more common with antihistamines than placebo.
What Should I Avoid While Taking Cold & Allergy Relief
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, or sleep medicine. Cold & Allergy Relief are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains an antihistamine or decongestant.
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How Do I Know If It’s Just Allergies
“Take your temperature. That’s probably a good first step, since coronavirus almost always includes a fever. If your temperature is normal, it is likely allergies,” says allergist Anu Kewalramani, MD an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
She adds, “Also, think about whether this happens to you every year. Come March and April, do you usually have itchy eyes and a runny nose?” If so, this may just be seasonal allergies acting up.
What If It’s Coronavirus Symptoms
Coronavirus symptoms can look similar to seasonal allergies, but often include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. A subset of patients may complain of not being able to taste or smell, or experience diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, it might just be seasonal allergies.
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What Other Drugs Will Affect Cold & Allergy Relief
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are also using any other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used together. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Cold & Allergy Relief with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
When To See A Doctor
It is not always easy to tell the difference between a cold and an allergy, so its important to know when to see a healthcare provider. If symptoms last for more than 2 weeks or if they are severe, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Doctors can identify allergy triggers through serum and skin tests. Once a specific allergen has been identified, an appropriate treatment plan is developed.
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How Should I Take Cold & Allergy Relief
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.
Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.
You should not use antihistamine medication to make a child sleepy.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow it whole. Breaking or opening the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
The chewable tablet must be chewed before swallowing.
Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
This medication can cause unusual results with allergy skin tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are taking an antihistamine.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken a cold medicine within the past few days.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Natural Allergy Relief Options
What helps relieve allergies fast? Watching what you eat, getting plenty of fresh air and drinking enough water are some of the natural remedies that can relieve allergies by improving functions of the immune system.
It may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, but they are likely to be better kept under control when you tackle the root causes. Here are nine ways to get natural allergy relief.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet
First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment.
Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:
Although its not abundant in many foods, vitamin D is also important for immune function and may help manage allergy symptoms. In fact, certain studies have shown that children who live farther from the equator are more likely to develop allergies and suffer higher rates of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions.
You can get enough vitamin D by spending about 15 minutes in the sun most days without sunscreen and by eating foods like whole milk and some mushrooms for natural allergy relief.
2. Local Raw Honey
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
5. Neti Pot
6. Stinging Nettle
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How Is It Diagnosed
See your doctor if youre experiencing what appears to be cold urticaria with exposure to the cold for the first time.
This will allow your doctor to diagnose your symptoms. There are some conditions that have similar symptoms. Its important to rule those out.
Seek medical care immediately if your symptoms are severe.
During your doctors visit, be prepared to discuss your symptoms and health history. Your doctor will also do a physical exam.
They may also perform an ice cube challenge test to observe your bodys reaction to cold temperatures.
During this test, the doctor will apply an ice cube in a plastic bag to your body for a few minutes and then see if hives or other symptoms occur.
Your skin may not immediately react to this test if you inherited the condition. Symptoms of inherited CU may take at least 20 or even 30 minutes to appear.
Your doctor may also order blood tests to determine or rule out underlying causes of your symptoms.
A proper diagnosis for CU is necessary because other conditions may cause similar symptoms.
Choose Only The Ingredients You Need To Treat Allergies
Most cold medicines have aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen as a main ingredient, and with allergies, you dont need any of these. These ingredients are meant to relieve aches and pains as well as feversymptoms that are not allergy related.
Many cold medicines also are formulated to relieve coughing. Cough relief medicines either have dextromethorphan to suppress a cough or guaifenesin to break up mucus in your chest and help you have a more productive cough. Allergy related coughs tend to be dry coughs caused by your immune systems reaction to an allergen, which causes irritation and/or swelling in your airways. Typical cough relief medicine ingredients wont help an allergy cough. You need an antihistamine, allergy-specific medicine or other allergy treatment such as seasonal allergy shots or drops.
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Rutgers Study Finds Increase In Antihistamine Use For Colds Following The 2008 Fda Advisory To Decrease Use Of Cough And Cold Medicines Despite Risks And Unclear Benefit Of Antihistamines For Children With Colds
For respiratory infections in children under 12, physicians are increasingly more likely to recommend antihistamines and less likely to recommend cough and cold medicines, a Rutgers study found.
Antihistamines are widely used over-the-counter to treat various allergic conditions. However, these medicines have little known benefit for children with colds, and some older antihistamines cause sedation and occasionally agitation in children.
The study, in JAMA Pediatrics, found a sharp decline in cough and cold medicine recommendations for children under 2 after 2008, when the Food and Drug Administration recommended against the medicines for that age group due to safety concerns and uncertain benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics subsequently recommended avoiding cough and cold medicines in children under 6.
Families often treat their childrens respiratory infections with cough and cold medicines, some of which include opioid ingredients, such as codeine or hydrocodone. However, there is little proof that these medications effectively ease the symptoms in young children, said study lead author Daniel Horton, assistant professor of pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Also, many cough and cold medicines have multiple ingredients, which increases the chance of serious accidental overdose when combined with another product.
Insight Into Recommended Use And Side Effects
- What are the side effects of antihistamines?
- Who should not use decongestants?
- What are combination remedies?
- and more
Drugs for stuffy nose, sinus trouble, congestion and drainage, and the common cold constitute a large segment of the over-the-counter market for Americas medication industry. Even though they do not cure allergies, colds, or the flu, they provide welcome relief for at least some of the discomforts of seasonal allergies and upper respiratory infections. However, its essential for consumers to read the ingredient labels, evaluate their symptoms, and choose the most appropriate remedy. It is not necessary to take medication if your symptoms are mild to moderate. Seek care from a physician if your symptoms persist beyond 7-10 days or are accompanied by fevers greater than 101.5 and worsening illness.
Some patients may benefit from non-drug therapies for nasal symptoms, such as nasal salt-water sprays or mists and nasal saline irrigations. As with all over-the-counter medications and treatments, read and follow the products instructions before use.
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What Is Cold & Allergy Relief
Cold & Allergy Relief may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Diagnosing Colds And Allergies
You dont need to see your doctor for a cold, but if you do make an appointment, your symptoms will likely be enough for them to confirm your diagnosis.
For allergies, you may need to see a primary care doctor, an ear-nose-throat doctor, or an allergist. The doctor will first ask about your symptoms. Severe or life-threatening allergic reactions often require the care of an allergy specialist.
A variety of tests can be used to diagnose allergies. A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions.
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Living With Allergic Rhinitis
Living with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis can affect your daily life. Nasal symptoms can be worse when lying down. This can disturb your ability to sleep well. Fatigue and headaches can affect your ability to function at school and work. There are many medicines and treatments that can help you manage your symptoms. Talk to your doctor as soon as you feel that your symptoms are getting worse or are not easy to control. He or she can help you come up with the right plan to control them so they dont affect your ability to live your normal life.