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Does Allergy Medicine Help With A Cold

Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan

If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or may lead to poor asthma control.

Also, a common cold can turn severe. So, if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.

You have a couple options:

Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an or an if needed.

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Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell. With Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.

How Does Your Nose Work To Protect Your Body

Your breathing process starts in your nose. Air gets into your lungs through your nose. It helps filter, humidify, warm or cool the air that comes through it so that the air that gets to your lungs is clean.

A special lining of mucosa, or a moist tissue, covers the area inside your nose and consists of many mucus-producing glands. As bacteria, allergens, dust or other harmful particles come into the nose, the mucus traps them. Mucus contains antibodies, or enzymes, which kill unwanted bacteria and viruses.

The mucosa lining also includes cilia, tiny hair-like structures. The cilia are continually in motion and move the collected harmful particles and the mucus that they are trapped in through your nose into the back of your throat. Its then swallowed and destroyed by the acid in your stomach. Mucus and particles can also be coughed up or sneezed out.

When outdoor temperatures turn cold, the pace of this process slows down. Many times, the mucus stays in your nose and then drips or dribbles out.

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Additional reporting by Katrina Cossey

What Causes Allergic Rhinitis

You have an allergy when your body overreacts to things that dont cause problems for most people. These things are called allergens. If you have allergies, your body releases chemicals when you are exposed to an allergen. One such chemical is called histamine. Histamine is your bodys defense against the allergen. The release of histamine causes your symptoms.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen comes from flowering trees, grass, and weeds. If you are allergic to pollen, you will notice your symptoms are worse on hot, dry days when wind carries the pollen. On rainy days, pollen often is washed to the ground, which means you are less likely to breathe it.

  • Allergies that occur in the spring are often due to tree pollen.
  • Allergies that occur in the summer are often due to grass and weed pollen.
  • Allergies that occur in the fall are often due to ragweed.

Allergens that can cause perennial allergic rhinitis include:

What Should I Know About Topical Sprays Decongestants And Expectorants To Treat A Cough

Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion Ultratabs Tablets

  • Topical nasal decongestants act more quickly than oral nasal decongestants. However, the effects of topical nasal decongestants are short lived. Topical nasal decongestants should be used for only three to five days at a time since more prolonged use can lead to rebound congestion with worsening nasal congestion. Patients with rebound congestion complain of stuffy nose despite frequent applications of the nasal decongestant. Treatment of rebound congestion involves the slow withdrawal of the nasal decongestant and applying saline nose sprays or drops to provide moisture.
  • Nasal decongestants can aggravate high blood pressure and should not be used in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure without permission from the doctor.
  • Oral nasal decongestants can interfere with the action of a class of antidepressants called MAO inhibitors.
  • Oral nasal decongestants can affect diseases such as , mellitus, and coronary artery disease. Oral nasal decongestants and antihistamines can also precipitate urinary obstruction in patients with enlarged prostates . Patients with these conditions should consult their doctors before using OTC products.

What Are Antihistamines

Antihistamines are a class of medications that help relieve allergy symptoms.

When you’re exposed to an allergen, your body creates a chemical called histamine, which is part of a complex reaction by the immune system. Histamine is what causes typical allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.

Antihistimines block that reaction, thus alleviating allergy symptoms. But your body also uses histamines to deal with physical damage and infection, such as with common cold.

Colds can be caused by hundreds of different viruses, which don’t cause the same symptoms in every person every time. While you may think of a cold as causing a cough or congestion, it’s also possible that you may experience itchy eyes or a runny nose, which can mimic allergies.

Is It a Cold or Allergies?

Risks And Side Effects

While most of the supplements and tips described above can provide natural allergy relief safely, there are some precautions to keep in mind.

When allergies are mild or moderate, they are usually not very threatening and go away with time. However, severe allergic reactions can be dangerous and require medical attention.

Anaphylaxis is the term for a severe allergic reaction, which can happen due to contact with food allergens, drugs/medications or insect stings. Symptoms usually affect the lungs, blood vessels or heart and can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • rash
  • vomiting

If you or your child experience these symptoms, head to your doctor or the emergency room right away to prevent complications.

What can you do for severe allergies? Your doctor may need to prescribe allergy shots or prescription asthma medications, such as bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.

Discuss these options with your health care provider, and consider trying the natural allergy relief remedies described above in addition to using medications.

What About People With Heart Problems

If you take medication for high blood pressure and you have a heart condition, you need to pay attention if your heart reacts to over-the-counter drugs.

Oftentimes, the heart doctor may overlook this topic because there are so many other things that they must bring to the patients attention, Dr. Kaminski says.

His advice? If you have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia or congestive heart failure, you should avoid OTC medicines that contain a  .

Dr. Kaminski specifically recommends against using pseudoephedrine.

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.

Allergy Symptoms Vs Covid

Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom and cause typical symptoms in those with allergies right as we have seen the spread of the coronavirus . Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences. 

Its important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices. 

Allergies Follow A Pattern And Symptoms Tend To Stick Around Longer

If you have allergies, your symptoms will flare up at certain times throughout the year when the allergens youre sensitive to are present. For example, if you have a tree pollen allergy, your symptoms will first appear in the early spring.

This also means that your symptoms can last for several weeks until that particular allergy season has ended. To put that into perspective, colds usually only last about a week.

Cold viruses are present all year, so you can catch one at any time. However, the winter cold season is when getting sick is more likely.

Benefits Of Nasal Steroid Sprays For Allergies

Saline nasal irrigations daily will help wash allergens out of the nose before they have a chance to become engaged with the nasal mucous membranes.

Nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase® , Nasacort ® or Rhinocort®  and Sensimyst® will help to reduce nasal and sinus inflammation. These can be used in addition to oral antihistamines to treat upper respiratory allergies . They have few side effects but have been known to cause nosebleeds with extended use.

Guaifenesin And Dehydration: The Truth

12 New Allergy & Cold Medicine Coupons :: Southern Savers

Guaifenesin, which helps loosen mucus and ease chest congestion, does not cause dehydration, according to Matthew Jennings, Pharm.D.

As it turns out, no medications for the common cold actually dehydrate youbut some might make you feel thirsty, in need of eye drops, or otherwise dried out. 

“Typically when people have that overly drying effect,” Jennings says, “it’s usually because they’re taking too much of a particular medication.”

So what among your common cold treatments is the culprit? “If you’re feeling parched even after drinking water and downing a bowl of chicken noodle soup, start by looking in the direction of anything containing antihistamines.”  

An antihistamine helps relieve symptoms often associated with allergies, such as a runny nose or watery eyes. The common cold causes similar symptoms, so antihistamines can be an effective treatment. 

A common side effect of antihistamines is dry mouth, so you may feel thirsty without actually being dehydrated. 

But here’s where the plot thickens. There are medications that contain dehydrating ingredients, and you may be surprised to learn what they are. 

 

 

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

4. Quercetin

5. Neti Pot

6. Stinging Nettle

  • Ginger
  • Horehound

8. Probiotics

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 , 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.

Can Allergies Cause A Cough

Yes, and you can blame it on your immune system. When your body mistakes a substance like pollen or mold as a harmful invader, it sets off an intense response to try and flush it out, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma &Immunology . During this process, your cells release histamine and other chemicals, which triggers an allergic reaction. Cue the cold-like symptoms, including a sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing.

Allergy coughs are typically caused by swelling or irritation of the airways, the AAAI says. And, if you develop post-nasal dripwhen the mucus hanging out in your sinuses trickles down the back of your throatthat can also cause a cough, Dr. Bassett says.

Why Do Some Medications Dehydrate You

There is a difference between actual dehydrating medications and those that give you a dried-out sensation, says Jennings. The goal of a diuretic is to remove excess fluid from the body, which can lower blood pressure and reduce swelling in the extremities. Dehydration would only occur if such a medication removed too much fluid from the body. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.

Medications that dry you outantihistaminescause that side effect because they block a specific neurotransmitter in the brain, Jennings says. 

Many patients experience drying side effects because they are taking too many antihistamines. “For example, if someone is taking a daily antihistamine for allergy symptoms and currently suffering from cold/flu symptoms, they might take a multi-symptoms product that results in a duplication of antihistamine,” Jennings says.

Jennings gives the example of someone taking a daily antihistamine to fight seasonal allergies who then comes down with the common cold. 

If they continue to take their daily allergy medication and introduce a product like NyQuil for overnight cold relief, they are doubling up on antihistamines and are more likely to experience extreme dryness. Many consumers aren’t aware of what’s in their medications or how their medications may interact, Jennings adds.

 

 

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Could anything else, such as a cold or the flu, be causing my symptoms?
  • How do I figure out what Im allergic to?
  • Is my allergy seasonal?
  • I am allergic to _____. Am I at risk for any other allergies?
  • What changes can I make at home to relieve my symptoms?
  • Will any over-the counter medicines relieve my symptoms?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse or dont respond to the treatment youve prescribed?
  • Do I need to see an allergy specialist ?

What Treatment Is Recommended For A Runny Nose Due To An Allergy

  • Stay indoors when the pollen count is high, usually in the early morning and on windy days.
  • Keep windows closed during allergy season, and use air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Wear a dust mask if working outdoors. Change clothing and take a shower right away after coming indoors.
  • Avoid contact with cats and dogs if you are sensitive to animal dander.

Also, there are many safe and effective over-the-counter medications available to help control allergy symptoms, such as nasal steroid sprays and oral antihistamines. If the symptoms are severe, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription medications, or refer you to an allergist for testing and targeted therapy.

Benefits Of Antihistamines For Allergies

Because antihistamines prevent the release of histamine, they dry up the excess fluids that lead to excessive tearing and a runny nose. Most antihistamines also include compounds that reduce the itching and irritation that can make your eyes feel as if they have sand in them. They inhibit the urge to sneeze and can also minimize irritation in the throat that leads to coughing.

Antihistamine medications should be taken once a day and will last for a full 24 hours. They have minimal side effects and can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. There are many different types of antihistamines on the market. The top four include:

  • Zyrtec® – Zyrtec , comes in both pill form and liquid capsule. It’s used to treat upper respiratory allergies but is also effective for skin rashes and hives. It offers quick relief with few side effects or drug interactions.
  • Claritin® – Claritin is a popular allergy medication because it can be taken safely by both adults and children. It comes in pill form and is used to treat seasonal allergies, skin rashes, and hives. It offers few side effects and can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription.
  • Allegra®  

Remember that generics work just as well as brand-names. It’s important that you read labels carefully so you only by the products that address your particular symptoms. If you have questions, always speak to your doctor or a specialist before you buy a particular product.

Advice from the Sinus Surgeon himself :

What Should I Know About Otc Products Relieve Allergies And Treat A Cough

Allergy

To use OTC products safely, it is important to understand their side effects, their effects on other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, , and other conditions, their interactions with other prescribed medications such as , blood thinners, and high blood pressure medicines, and the product’s limitations.

These guidelines are provided to help consumers make more informed choices when selecting OTC products.

  • Always read the labels and know the ingredients in the products. Never take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor first.
  • Do not use aspirin-containing medicines for children and teenagers with influenza, chickenpox, or other viral illnesses. Rare cases of Reye’s syndrome have been associated with the use of aspirin in this population. Reye’s syndrome is a serious illness characterized by damage, vomiting, and sometimes . It has a 50% mortality rate, and those who survive can be left with permanent brain damage. Therefore, acetaminophen-containing products or NSAIDs are recommended for children with fever. NSAIDs may be used in children over 6 months of age.
  • Aspirin and NSAIDs can cause ulcers and increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided by people with known ulcer disease or certain blood diseases. People who are scheduled for elective surgeries should inform their doctors that they are taking aspirin or NSAIDs.
  • Aspirin can cause complications during and should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis

    Your symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of your allergies. Symptoms can include:

    • Sneezing.
    • Itching .
    • Runny nose.
    • Pressure in the nose and cheeks.
    • Ear fullness and popping.
    • Watery, red, or swollen eyes.
    • Dark circles under your eyes.
    • Trouble smelling.
    • Hives.

    Allergic rhinitis can last several weeks, longer than a cold or the flu. It does not cause fever. The nasal discharge from hay fever is thin, watery, and clear. Nasal discharge from a cold or the flu tends to be thicker. Itching is common with hay fever but not with a cold or the flu. Sneezing occurs more with hay fever. You may even have severe sneeze attacks.

    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.

    Cleaning Your Nasal Passages

    Regularly cleaning your nasal passages with a salt water solution, known as nasal douching or irrigation, can also help by keeping your nose free of irritants.

    You can do this by using a solution made with sachets bought from a pharmacy.

    Small syringes or pots that often look like small horns or teapots are also available to help flush the solution around the inside of your nose.

    To rinse your nose:

    • stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it
    • sniff the water into 1 nostril at a time
    • repeat this until your nose feels comfortable

    While you do this, some solution may pass into your throat through the back of your nose.

    The solution is harmless if swallowed, but try to spit out as much of it as possible.

    Nasal irrigation can be carried out as often as necessary, but a fresh solution should be made each time.

    What Other Symptoms May Come With A Runny Nose

    Postnasal drip is a side effect of too much mucus. It occurs when the mucus goes down the back of your throat and is swallowed, which may lead to a cough or sore throat.

    Sometimes, a runny nose and a congested, or stuffy, nose are seen together. Congestion occurs when the tissues lining the nose become swollen and make it difficult to breathe. The swelling is due to inflamed blood vessels. Mucus may begin to run out of your nose.

    A runny nose due to a cold or flu may be accompanied by fatigue, sore throat, cough, facial pressure and sometimes fever.

    A runny nose due to allergies may be accompanied by sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.

    Is It A Cold Or Allergies

    Its often hard to tell the difference between a cold and allergies. Both can cause similar symptoms, such as a runny and/or stuffy nose, , fatigue, and a sore throat. However, there are some differences that might help you tell if its allergies vs. a cold.

    Simply put, colds are infections caused by viruses. Colds can be contagious up to two days before symptoms start and can last two weeks after exposure to the virus. Allergies, on the other hand, are not contagious, and the symptoms you experience are your immune system’s reaction to allergens, such as pollen.

    Take our simple allergies vs. cold quiz to learn the differences between cold and common allergy symptoms.

     

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