What Causes Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms that affect the nose and sinuses.
Commonly known as hay fever, people develop allergic rhinitis when their bodies become overly sensitive to something in the environment that causes other people no problems, also known as an allergen.
When this happens, the immune system begins to attack an otherwise harmless substance, causing an allergy attack.
Allergy attacks occur when your body begins to release inflammatory mediators, including histamines, which then bind to receptors on other cells in your body.
As the histamines bind to the receptors, you begin to experience allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, itchy nose or throat, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure.
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis can be triggered by outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees, weeds, or flowers, indoor allergens, such as pet hair or dander, dust mites, and mold, or other irritants, including smoke, perfume, and vehicle exhaust.
People who suffer from allergic rhinitis may experience symptoms only seasonally or throughout the year.
When experienced seasonally, allergic rhinitis is usually caused by sensitivity to airborne mold spores or different types of pollen.
How Do Antihistamines Work
Histamine is a chemical naturally produced by various cells in your body. It has a variety of different functions. Large amounts of histamine are made in cells called mast cells, in places where the body comes into contact with the outside environment. For example, in the nose, throat, lungs and skin. Here, mast cells and histamine form part of your immune defence system.
Your immune system cells monitor your blood and mucosae for anything that is not made by your body. If your skin is damaged or your immune system detects a foreign substance, histamine is released from mast cells. The histamine binds to special sites on other cells, called H1 receptors. This sets off a chain reaction which causes blood vessels in the area to become slightly leaky. Specialised cells and chemicals, which defend your body, can now get access to the area. While this is a helpful response, it also causes redness, swelling and itching.
Antihistamines work by physically blocking the H1 receptors, stopping histamine from reaching its target. This decreases your body’s reaction to allergens and therefore helps to reduce the troublesome symptoms associated with allergy.
Note: antihistamines should not be confused with H2 blockers which reduce the production of stomach acid. While both types of medicine block the actions of histamine, they work on different receptors in different systems of the body.
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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Does Claritin Go Bad
Most data suggests that it takes a significant amount of time for a drug to “go bad”, or lose a large percentage of its original potency. In addition, it is rare for a medication to degrade into dangerous compounds and cause actual harm.
One of the largest studies in regard to potency loss over time was done in the 1980s. The FDA performed a study, testing the potency of expired drugs the military had on hand. They found that the vast majority of drugs had around 70-80% potency after 10 years if stored in the original container!
As mentioned above, harm from taking expired drugs is extremely rare and has only been linked to a select few drugs, such as degraded tetracycline. There were rare reports of kidney damage in patients who took outdated tetracycline in the 1960s.
Also, some degraded drugs do have an altered taste or smell. Aspirin for example, if left out too long, does degrade and has a foul odor associated with it when it is no longer good.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What type of antihistamine would work best for me?
- How do I proper take the prescribed antihistamine?
- What side effects might occur with the recommended medication?
- What antihistamine wont interfere with the current medications I am taking?
- When, or for what conditions, does taking an antihistamine that would make me drowsy make sense?
- Can I live my life normally while using this medication? Can I drive? Can I operate heavy machinery?
- Can I take antihistamines if I am pregnant, planning to become pregnancy or am breastfeeding?
- Can antihistamines be safely given to my child?
- What are the consequences if I dont take an antihistamine to help with my allergies?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Histamine is on your side. The chemical does its best to regulate help your heart and lungs and protect your body from foreign allergens, among other roles. But it can be oversensitive, and it can overreact, and thats where antihistamines can help. If youre have allergies, stomach symptoms or any of the other conditions and symptoms mentioned in this article, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Your symptoms may be able to be treated.
Always check with your healthcare provider and your pharmacist if you have concerns about antihistamines, and always follow the directions on the labels!
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Common Questions About Loratadine
Loratadine is a type of medicine called an antihistamine.
When you come into contact with something you have an allergy to, such as pollen, animal hair or fur, house dust or insect bites, your body produces a chemical called histamine.
Usually, histamine is a useful substance but in an allergic reaction it causes unpleasant symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, running or blocked nose, sneezing and skin rashes.
Loratadine blocks the effects of histamine and so reduces these symptoms.
Loratadine is a non-drowsy antihistamine, so it does not make you feel as sleepy as other medicines like it.
You should start to feel better within an hour.
It depends on why you’re taking it.
You may only need to take loratadine for a short time or as a one-off dose. If you have a reaction to an insect bite, you may only need to take loratadine for a day or two.
You may need to take it for longer if you’re taking it to prevent hay fever symptoms when the pollen count is high.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure how long you need to take loratadine for.
Loratadine is unlikely to do you any harm if you take it for a long time. However, it’s best to take it only for as long as you need to.
It’s best not to drink alcohol while you’re taking loratadine, as it can make you feel sleepy.
You can eat and drink normally while taking loratadine.
Loratadine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine but it’s still possible to feel sleepy after taking it.
Tips for when you’re outside
How Much Time Does It Take Claritin To Work
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Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Zyrtec Vs Claritin
Zyrtec is available as a generic medication. Since it does not require a doctors visit or prescription, it can be purchased over-the-counter . For this reason, it is not typically covered by Medicare or insurance plans. The average retail cost of generic Zyrtec is around $25. With a SingleCare coupon card, this price can be lowered substantially.
Claritin is taken as a once-daily antihistamine that can be purchased as a generic OTC drug. It is not usually covered by Medicare or insurance plans. The average cash price for generic Claritin tablets is around $30. This price can be reduced with a SingleCare coupon card and you can pay as low as $4 depending on the pharmacy you go to.
How Do Antihistamines Stop The Symptoms Of Allergies
If you have ever had seasonal allergies, you have probably taken antihistamines to feel better. Five out of every ten people deal with allergies of some kind. Allergens are the triggers for an allergic response. Allergens can be anything from the latex in gloves, to pollen, dust mites, animal dander, mold, insect stings, as well as ingredients in medications and in food.
The allergic response is caused by the protein, histamine the immune system makes and carries histamine in special lymphocytes called mast cells. Histamine is an inflammatory protein that causes blood to flow into the surrounding tissues of where the antigen is located. For instance, if you breathed in some dust particles and the immune system mistakes them for a pathogen, the tissues in your sinuses and nasal passages may begin to swell. You may start sneezing and your eyes might start watering this is caused by histamine.
To help reduce your allergy triggers, you need to reduce the amount of allergens that you are exposed to. A good way to do this is to keep your environment free of dust, dust mites, and mold. The spores of mold are airborne it is possible that you could breathe them into your lungs and have an allergic response. Dust mites live in the dust of your home they also live in your bed and bedding. A dust mite allergy can cause coughing, wheezing and sinus problems.
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What About Antihistamines In Cold And Flu Medications
What many people may not know is that cold and flu medicines marketed to treat runny nose and sneezing usually include first-generation antihistamines the more sedating types. Thats because they are often better at treating cold symptoms and drying up runny nose than the newer types.
Because of their sedating effect, cold medicines with antihistamines are labeled for nighttime use. Take this labeling seriously, as some include medications like doxylamine that are more sedating than others. Check labels for dosages, as well, as these may vary, even within brands.
More is not better read labels carefully and take only as recommended. Dont supplement a multi-symptom cold medication with another single-ingredient antihistamine.
What Conditions Do Allegra And Claritin Treat
Allegra is indicated for the treatment of seasonal and yearlong allergies in patients ages 2 years and older. It is also used to relieve chronic itching in patients ages 6 months and older.
Claritin is used to treat the symptoms of seasonal and yearlong allergies, as well as chronic itching in patients ages 2 years and older. Claritin has also been used off label to prevent exercise-induced asthma in patients with allergies.
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Does Claritin Work Immediately
Its important to note that while some people may feel immediate relief when taking antihistamines like Claritin, others may not experience any benefits until about 30 minutes after theyve taken their dose. The duration of the effects also varies depending on the antihistamine used and can last anywhere from six hours up to twelve hours. In general though, most types of allergy medication will start working within one hour of being taken and should provide relief from your symptoms for at least 24 hours.
What Is Claritin Used To Treat
Although Claritin is classified as an antihistamine, it is not approved for the treatment or prevention of all types of allergic reactions.
Claritin is used to treat symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever these symptoms include itching, runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Claritin is also used to provide relief from itching caused by hives. However, Claritin cannot treat or prevent all allergic reactions. Claritin is not approved for the prevention of hives or the treatment or prevention of a serious allergic reaction, including those caused by food, insect stings, and other serious allergies.
Claritin is used to treat the usually minor symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, which can occur seasonally or on a year-round basis.
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Are There Any Side Effects I Should Be Aware Of
If youve ever taken over the counter allergy medications like Benadryl or Zyrtec, youre likely already familiar with some of the common side effects of Claritin, which include:
Although highly uncommon, this often-prescribed allergy medication can occasionally cause allergic reactions.
If you experience signs of an allergic reaction to Claritin, including hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Claritin For Dogs Usage Guidelines
Claritin is available in various forms, including regular tablets, disintegrating tablets, chewable tablets, and syrups. The disintegrating tablets must not be used in dogs because they often contain xylitol an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs, and the syrup is toxic to bother dogs and cats because it is preserved in propylene glycol and enriched with xylitol.
Additionally, dogs must never be given Claritin-D, a formulation with pseudoephedrine as a second active ingredient. While a helpful decongestant in people, pseudoephedrine is toxic to pets .
On the other hand, the Claritin Junior formulation is safe for dogs and can be convenient for use in toy dogs as it contains low Loratadine amounts .
We should also note that Loratadine interacts with certain medications and should not be used at the same time with:
- Antibiotics like erythromycin
- Antifungals like ketoconazole
- Antacids like cimetidine
However, not all interactions are bad. For example, Loratadine acts synergistically with omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, when giving Claritin to your dog, veterinarians recommend using a supplement like fish oil .
If your dog does not handle Claritin well, you can try another member of the antihistamines family, like Benadryl , Tavist , Zyrtec , or Allegra . They are all available over-the-counter and can help manage your dogs allergy symptoms.
Where Can I Purchase Claritin Allergy + Sinus Tablets
Claritin® AllergyX Allergy An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless. + Sinus is available wherever over-the-counter allergyX allergy An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless. products are sold. In some provinces or locations, it may be behind the counter of the pharmacy. Ask your pharmacist.
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.
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What You Can Do To Keep Safe
- During spring and early summer, use a corticosteroid nasal spray . Start at the beginning of September and continue to the end of December.
- Keep taking your preventer medication as prescribed. If you dont normally use a preventer all year, you should use it during September-December if you are going to be in an area where there is ryegrass pollen.
- Follow the pollen counts and weather forecasts during spring and summer so you know if a storm is coming.
- Make sure your written asthma action plan is up to date and includes thunderstorm advice talk to your GP
- Avoid being outdoors just before and during thunderstorms, especially in cold wind gusts that come before the rain. Get inside a building or car with the windows shut and the air conditioner switched to recirculate/recycled.
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Zyrtec Vs Claritin For Postnasal Drip
Post nasal drip may occur for various reasons – allergies , colds or flu, various drugs , cold temperatures, bright lights, hormonal changes and spicy foods.
Thin postnasal drip secretions caused by allergies may be treated with antihistamines. Second-generation antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Claritin may offer better relief than older-type antihistamines such as promethazine . Intranasal antihistamines, such as azelastine, have a faster onset of action and appear more effective than oral antihistamines although require more frequent administration. Other treatments include decongestants, cromolyn, and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
In the treatment of post nasal drip caused by nonallergic causes, oral second-generation antihistamines are not very effective. However, the intranasal antihistamine azelastine is effective. Azelastine improves all rhinitis symptoms including nasal congestion, postnasal drip, sneezing and sleeping difficulty. The most common side effect is a metallic after taste however, this is more likely at higher dosages and tends to dissipate with continued use.
If thin nasal mucus secretions become thick and turn yellow or green, bacterial infection is likely and a doctor should be seen to obtain antibiotics.
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