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Does Benadryl Help With Food Allergies

Mild And Severe Reactions

Allergists Debunk 11 Food Allergy Myths | Debunked

Symptoms can involve just one area of the body, or more than one area.

  • A mild reaction involves a mild symptom that affects only one area of the body.
  • A reaction that involves any severe symptom is a severe reaction.
  • A reaction that involves mild symptoms in more than one body area is also a severe reaction.

Severe reactions can quickly progress to anaphylaxis, a condition that can be life-threatening. For this reason, severe reactions must be treated with epinephrine.

Why Its Time To Rethink Our Use Of Benadryl

Did you know that pilots are not allowed to fly for 30 hours after taking even one dose of Benadryl? This is due to the potential for sedation and profound impairment that can slow reflexes and interfere with motor skills. Yet parents and pediatricians routinely give this medication to infants and children of all ages for a myriad of reasons. Diphenhydramine, brand name Benadryl®, is one of the oldest and most frequently used over-the-counter medications for children. However, many better options are now widely available, all of which are faster acting, longer lasting, with less side effects.

Antihistamines counteract the effect of histamine throughout the body, and treat a range of symptoms including itching, hives, sneezing, and runny nose. Older 1st generation antihistamines such as Benadryl® are not very selective and interfere with many other pathways in the body, causing side effects. Newer 2nd generation antihistamines offer the same benefit in counteracting histamine but are much more selective in their mechanism of action.

Its challenging to try and undo 60 years of routine use of Benadryl®. Change can be hard to understand or accept. Its important to remain current to provide the best care we can to children. Misconceptions surrounding Benadryl® are common here are some of the common questions I receive from parents and medical professionals.

Food Sensitivities: Allergy Versus Intolerance

Manouchehr Saljoughian, PharmD, PhDAlta Bates Summit Medical CenterBerkeley, CaliforniaUS Pharm.

Food allergy is defined as an adverse reaction or abnormal response to a food protein or food additive and is triggered by the body’s immune system . Anaphylactic reactions to food can sometimes cause serious illness and even death. Tree nuts and peanuts are the leading causes of these deadly allergic reactions . In recent decades, the prevalence of food allergy appears to have increased, and even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives, or swollen face and airways . In people with celiac disease , the gluten in certain foods can initiate a complex immune response and cause severe symptoms.1

Food intolerance is also a reaction to food, but it is not mediated by the body’s immune system and, therefore, it is not an allergy. The symptoms of food intolerance are less bothersome. People often confuse the two, because food intolerance also shows some of the same signs and symptoms as food allergy, such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea.2

Treatment consists of either immunotherapy or avoidance, in which the allergic person avoids all forms of contact with the food to which he or she is allergic.3

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Signs You Might Have A Food Allergy

A large-scale medicalstudy recently reported that approximately 3.6 percent of Americans areallergic to one or more foods and that number is growing. Food allergies occurwhen people consume a certain food that triggers an abnormal response fromtheir immune system. This abnormal response is caused when the immune systemrecognizes normally safe food proteins as harmful the symptoms that followare called an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions can range from minor to life-threateningand can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on how severely the immunesystem reacts to foods. Minor allergic reactions can usually be managed withcommon medications, while severe allergic reactions typically mandate emergencymedical intervention.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to tell if theyrehaving an allergic reaction to food. Were taking a look at the foods that mostcommonly cause allergic reactions, the symptoms that typically accompany a foodallergy and what to do if you believe youre having an allergic reaction.

My Childs Runny Nose Got Better After Taking Benadryl Does This Mean They Have Allergies

Benadryl Allergy Relief Acrivastine 12 Capsules

Not at all. This is a prime example of how the side effects of Benadryl® can improve symptoms. Benadryl® can dry out secretions and mucous membranes. This can create problems not only in the eyes, nose and throat but throughout the rest of the body as well. Improvement in a runny nose during a cold is not due to the anti-histamine properties of the medication. In general, Benadryl® is not an effective medication to use during upper respiratory infections due to short duration of action and unfavorable side effects.

Read Also: What Foods Help With Allergies

Using Benadryl Safely For Allergic Reactions: A Review

Heres what parents should take away, to maximize safety when using Benadryl:

  • Only give your baby Benadryl if your doctor recommends it for your baby.
  • Only use Benadryl to treat a mild allergic reaction.
  • Always follow your doctors instructions and dosage recommendations when giving Benadryl.
  • Remember that Benadryl cant treat anaphylaxis—only an Epi-Pen can.
  • Consider Zyrtec for babies over 6 months of age.
  • Dont use Benadryl to make your baby sleepy.

Can My Child Become Tolerant To Antihistamines

Not really. There are many reasons why these medications may no longer offer benefit. Most commonly, they are used inappropriately for symptoms that do not improve with antihistamines. For example, nasal congestion does not improve with antihistamines, which only treat sneezing and itching. The dose may also need to be increased with age or growth.

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Can I Give My Dog Benadryl

Yes, you can give your dog Benadryl as long as you limit the amount of medicine given to a safe amount. Veterinarians approve using Benadryl for dogs for a number of reasons. Antihistamines like Benadryl can help ease motion sickness, inflammatory and allergic reactions from insect bites, and seasonal allergies.

Benadryl tablets work by blocking H1 receptors to keep histamines at bay, reducing symptoms of allergies. PetMDs Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Jessica Vogelsang assures dog parents that the drug is well-tolerated and has a wide safety margin for use on dogs.

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How To Use Benadryl Allergy

Does Benadryl Work?

Follow all directions on the product package. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take the tablet, capsule, or liquid form by mouth with or without food. Measure liquid forms of this medication using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you have a single-dose form of this medication , you do not need to measure the dose.

The rapidly-dissolving tablet or strip should be allowed to dissolve on the tongue and then swallowed, with or without water. The chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before being swallowed.

The dosage is based on your age, medical condition, and response to treatment. There are many brands and forms of diphenhydramine available. Read the dosing instructions carefully for each product because the amount of diphenhydramine may be different between products. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than directed.

To prevent motion sickness, take your dose 30 minutes before starting activity such as travel. To help you sleep, take your dose about 30 minutes before bedtime. If you continue to have difficulty sleeping for longer than 2 weeks, contact your doctor.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

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What Can Benadryl Treat In Dogs

Benadryl is typically recommended by vets for dogs who are suffering from mild or moderate allergy symptoms. These allergies could be caused by seasonal allergies, environmental allergies such as grass, food allergies, or allergies that are caused by insect bites or snakes bikes. Similar to Claritin for dogs, Benadryl is commonly recommended for dogs who are sufferings from skin allergies and itchiness that is caused by this type of allergy reaction.

The most common symptoms that Benadryl can treat:

  • Itchy skin

Benadryl For Hives Itching And Rash

Some topical, over-the-counter Benadryl products are approved for treating hives, itchy skin, and rash. These products include:

  • Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream
  • Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel
  • Benadryl Itch Relief Stick

Oral over-the-counter Benadryl products arent approved to treat hives, itchy skin, and rash. However, these products are sometimes used for these purposes. Theyre effective for this use, but theyre not usually a first-choice treatment because of side effects such as sleepiness.

Newer, second-generation antihistamines are usually preferred over oral Benadryl for treating these symptoms. These newer medications include:

  • cetirizine
  • Benadryl Itch Relief Stick

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Recommended Usage For Benadryl In Babies: Only Infants Under 6 Months

Dr. Marks-Cogan reports that she only recommends liquid Benadryl for mild reactions in the youngest infants, due to its potential side effects. For older infants, childrens Zyrtec is a better choice. I usually only recommend Benadryl for infants and actually only recommend it for infants six months or younger, explains Dr. Marks-Cogan. For infants six months or older I usually recommend childrens Zyrtec, which is also an antihistamine. Benadryl is short-acting and can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity in some babies, so I prefer Zyrtec which creates more of a steady state and has fewer side effects.

Tips For Minimizing The Risk Of An Allergic Reaction

Benadryl Allergy, 25 mg, Tablets (6 each)

How to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction? As Dr. Jonathan Spergel’s recent research has shown, “severe FA reactions and mortality increase with age and are particularly low in infants, supporting early allergen oral introduction.”

So, don’t wait to introduce allergy-causing foods. Delaying the introduction of allergenic foods for a babys first 1-3 years of life can actually increase their food allergy risk. But starting introduction of peanut, egg, and milk before your baby turns one, and continuing to introduce them multiple times a week for several months, is the best way to minimize their risk of an allergic reaction


All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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  • All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.

    FDA Acknowledges Qualified Health Claim Linking Early Peanut Introduction and Reduced Risk of Developing Peanut Allergy in 2017:

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    Can I Use Zyrtec Or Benadryl With Alcohol

    No. You should avoid alcohol while taking these allergy medications. The combination can increase the risk of respiratory depression , which can be dangerous. It can also cause additive effects, worsening the side effects of the medication, and causing impairment.

    If you drink alcohol and want to treat your allergies, a nasal spray is a better option. Your pharmacist can help you find an appropriate nasal spray.

    How Can I Avoid Food Allergy Triggers

    To avoid the foods you are allergic to, you must carefully check the ingredient labels on food products. Food manufacturers must clearly state on the label if a product contains any of the eight most common food allergens.

    Some labels use precautions such as may contain or made on shared equipment. If you have any questions about what you can and cant eat, ask your healthcare provider.

    Read Also: What Are The Symptoms Of Wheat Allergy In Adults

    What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Food Allergies

    If you suspect you have a food allergy, allergy/immunology providers can perform a skin test to confirm it. During a skin test, your healthcare provider:

  • Applies a small amount of different types of allergens to your skin on your arms or back.
  • Makes tiny pricks or scratches through the allergens.
  • Measures your reactions to the allergens after tests have been in place for 15 minutes.
  • Areas of your skin that become red and itchy indicate an allergy. Your healthcare provider uses this information to determine what youre allergic to.

    Your healthcare provider may also use a radioallergosorbent blood test . A RAST checks the levels of allergic antibody to different allergens in your blood. Raised levels of specific antibodies can indicate an allergy.

    Which Food Allergies Are Most Common

    Does taking a Benadryl before and after eating shrimp work if you allergic?

    In adults, they include:

    • Tree nuts, such as walnuts
    • Shellfish, including shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab

    For children, the food allergens that most often cause problems are:

    Adults usually don’t lose their allergies, but children do sometimes. Kids are more likely to outgrow allergies to milk, eggs, and soy than to peanuts, fish, and shrimp.

    The foods that you’ll react to are often those that you eat regularly. In Japan, for example, you’ll find rice allergy. In Scandinavia, codfish allergy is common.

    Recommended Reading: When Are Allergies Most Common

    Changes To Current Medications

    Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications, prescription or non-prescription, you’re already taking. Some medications can affect the action of your histamine-processing enzymes.

    If you are taking such a medication, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage, switch you to a similar medication that doesn’t affect histamine, or take you off the medicine entirely if it’s safe to do so.

    Can Benadryl Be Crushed

    Benadryl tablets can be crushed. If you have trouble swallowing whole tablets, Benadryl liquid solution and chewable tablets are available.

    Benadryl is an antihistamine. If you have allergies or have a cold, your body releases a chemical messenger called histamine. This messenger causes symptoms such as inflammation, edema , itchiness, and runny nose.

    Benadryl blocks some of the effects of histamine and decreases some of the symptoms caused by it.

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    Benadryl And Other Medications

    Below is a list of medications that can interact with Benadryl. This list doesnt contain all drugs that may interact with Benadryl.

    Different drug interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.

    If you take other medications, talk with your pharmacist before taking Benadryl. Your pharmacist can help you avoid potential interactions.

    Anticholinergic drugs

    Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine, a chemical that relays messages between cells in your body. Benadryl also blocks acetylcholine. Because anticholinergic drugs and Benadryl work in the same way, taking them together can increase the risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include:

    • fesoterodine

    Benadryl and Xanax

    Xanax is a type of drug called a benzodiazepine, which can cause sleepiness. Taking Xanax with Benadryl can increase your risk of excessive sleepiness. This can make you too sleepy to drive or prevent you from doing other potentially dangerous activities safely.

    If you take Xanax, talk with your doctor before taking Benadryl. They may recommend other treatment options.

    Benadryl and Zoloft

    Zoloft is an antidepressant that can cause sleepiness in some people who take it. Taking Zoloft with Benadryl may increase the risk of excessive sleepiness. This can make you too sleepy to drive or prevent you from doing other potentially dangerous activities safely.

    Benadryl and Zyrtec

    Benadryl Can Help With Your Childs Mild Allergy Symptoms As Long As You Give The Right Dose Learn How To Identify And Give The Safe Dose Of Benadryl


    If your child has mild food allergy symptoms, or mild environmental allergy symptoms, the right dose of Benadryl can help relieve these symptoms. But if your child doesnt receive the right dose of Benadryl for their age, or takes the wrong type of Benadryl for their age, the medicine could harm your child. Today, well cover what your family needs to know about Benadryl, including how to identify the safe dosage for your childs age.

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    Which Antihistamine Is Best

    The best antihistamine depends on each individual. Some people swear by Allegra, while others love Xyzal. Its really a matter of trial and error, based on how effective the medicine is for you and what kind of side effects you experience. Your healthcare provider can help you select an antihistamine to try.

    Issues Mistakenly Linked To Food Allergies

    Although some people think certain illnesses can be caused by food allergies, evidence doesn’t back up such claims. Histamines in cheese or red wine, for example, can trigger migraines. But we can’t say that food allergies actually cause migraines. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis aren’t made worse by foods. Food allergies don’t cause “allergic tension fatigue syndrome,” where people get tired, nervous, and may have problems concentrating or headaches.

    Cerebral allergy is a term that describes when mast cells are supposedly releasing their chemicals in the brain — and nowhere else in the body — causing trouble concentrating and headaches. Most doctors don’t recognize cerebral allergy as a disorder.

    Even when their surroundings are very clean, some people have many general complaints like problems concentrating, fatigue, or depression. Environmental illness may be the result of small amounts of allergens or toxins, but not food allergies.

    Researchers have found that hyperactivity in children may be related to food additives, but only occasionally and only when the child has had a lot of them. A food allergy won’t directly affect a child’s behavior, although their symptoms might make them cranky and difficult, and allergy medications can make them sleepy.

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