Can I Use Antihistamines As A Sleep Aid
Using antihistamines as a sleep aid is not recommended. While some antihistamines may help you fall asleep faster, your body eventually builds a tolerance against any sedative properties. Antihistamines should not be used as a solution for chronic insomnia or other sleep disorders. That said, if you are having difficulty sleeping because of your allergy symptoms, a daily antihistamine may help reduce those symptoms and help you sleep better.
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Springtime brings not only beautiful weather and beautiful flowers, but it also brings high pollen counts and suffering to people with allergies. Many people often ask what allergy medicines can I safely take if I have heart disease or high blood pressure. Many allergy medications include decongestants that can raise blood pressure, create palpitations and interfere with some other heart medications.
Medications that often can be safely used by people with significant allergies include nasal corticosteroids. In addition, antihistamines are very effective. The antihistamines include fexofenadine , cetirizine , loratadine and diphenhydramine .
Often manufactures will include a decongestant with the antihistamines in order to provide additional control of the runny nose often seen with allergies. Manufacturers will often indicate which of the antihistamines also contain a decongestant by adding the letter D to the name of the medicine. These decongestants can be phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine or oxymetazoline.
Therefore, advertised medicines such as Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin should be safe for most patients with heart disease and allergies however, Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D could cause problems for patients with allergies and heart disease.
When You Take Allergy Medicine Every Day This Is What Happens
Spring is a great time of year. The weather gets warmer, the days get longer, but if youre prone to allergies, the increased dust, pollen, and everything in between can make the season unbearable.
Antihistamines, or allergy medicines, are used to control how much histamine, a chemical made by the immune system in response to allergens, the body produces. But like a lot of medications, allergy pills come with side effects, which can include drowsiness, dry mouth, weight gain, an increased heart rate, headaches, a sore throat, and nausea.
There can also be rare side effects when a person abruptly stops taking allergy pills after regular use. According to Sandra Lin, MD, a professor and the vice director of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at John Hopkins School of Medicine, halting pill usage can result in itchy skin and disrupted sleep .
But what happens when someone takes medicine for allergies every single day for an extended period of time? Is that okay? Is it harmful? After all, 50 million Americans must put up with an array of allergens each year .
Skin Allergies And Contact Dermatitis: The Basics
Articles On Skin Allergies
Something touches your skin, and your immune system thinks it’s under attack. It overreacts and sends antibodies to help fight the invader, called an allergen. The result is a red, itchy rash where the substance landed.
Your doctor calls this contact dermatitis. There are two types:
- Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by chemicals like harsh cleaners.
- Allergic contact dermatitis is just like it sounds — your body reacts to an allergy trigger.
ishonestNo.241 – Stretch Marks
You could also have an allergic reaction to something in the air that settles on your skin, like pollen, chemical sprays, powders, fibers, or cigarette smoke. This is called airborne contact dermatitis, and it mostly happens on your eyelids, head, and neck. It can be hard for doctors to diagnose because it doesnt look that different from the other type.
Skin allergies can also cause hives and swelling deep in your skin, called angioedema.
What Causes Skin Allergies?
It takes at least 10 days to become sensitive to something after your first contact with it. You might even be able to touch something for years before you have an allergic reaction to it.
Is There Anyone Who Should Not Take Zyrtec
Zyrtec is safe for most people, but there are some populations that should stay away from it. Children under 2, anyone with a history of allergic reaction to Zyrtec or hydroxyzine/piperazine derivatives, and people with severe renal impairment are all people who probably shouldn’t take Zyrtec, says Dr. Patel. For people with these conditions, Zyrtec can cause adverse health effects.
If you are pregnant and breastfeeding, Dr. Patel recommends speaking to your doctor before using it, since some women have experienced side effects. Dr. Eitches suggests taking it with caution if you’re on other medications or take some kind of sleeping aid to help you go to bed.
When in doubt, it’s best to go to your doctor with any questions before you take Zyrtec as an allergy medicine. All things considered though, youre likely to be fine when using Zyrtec, as side effects arent terribly common, Boomershine notes. Still, it’s best to be aware of potential Zyrtec side effectsespecially if you’re planning on popping the stuff on the reg over the next few months.
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How Do I Know Whether I Have Seasonal Or Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
Symptoms for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis are generally the same â nasal congestion, runny nose, itching, sneezing, and sometimes watery and itchy eyes. However, symptoms for seasonal allergic rhinitis generally appear according to the season commonly associated with the particular allergy you have. For example, if you have an allergy to tree pollen, your symptoms would usually appear in the spring.
Perennial allergic rhinitis symptoms occur as a result of allergens that you are exposed to year-round, such as dust mites and animal dander. For a diagnosis of whether you have seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis , you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Reason # : Physical Issues
You might have another medical condition that limits your treatment options. Someone with high blood pressure, for instance, couldn’t take a and would have to substitute a medicine that might not work as well, Friedman says.
People may respond unusually to allergy medications based on their genes. Their genetics may also make them exhibit different symptoms for allergies than what are traditional, Zitt says.
The fix: Treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all case. Doctors have to look at each individual’s case and focus treatment accordingly, and finding the right treatment may take some tinkering.
Allergy patients often have to use a multi-pronged approach for treating their allergies. It is not always easy and doesn’t often happen overnight, but relief can be found.
“People have to get proper care by a specialist have good communication and proper compliance,” Zitt says. “It should be a team effort between the physician and patient, with honesty and a willingness to work together. All of these will increase the likelihood for success.”
Baruch Friedman, MD, assistant professor, immunology and allergy division,Johns Hopkins chief, allergy and immunology division, Good Samaritan Hospital,Baltimore.
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Can I Share My Prescription Antihistamines With Friends Who Have Allergies
No. Even if your friend has a similar allergy, do not share your medicine. You should never share a prescription medicine with another person. Your doctor has examined you and has picked a medicine that is right only for your problem. Some antihistamines can cause serious side effects if they are given to people who are taking another medicine, or who should not take antihistamines for another reason.
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Why Trust Verywell Family
As a seasoned health writer, Isis Briones knows the importance of finding products that work best for you and your conditions. You can count on her to always provide a variety of recommendations from licensed medical professionals because she has tested and reviewed tons of products over the years to know everyone is different.
Additional reporting by Katrina Cossey
Zyrtec Side Effects To Be Aware Of
If you’ve ever slept 14 hours after popping a Benadryl, you’re well aware that some allergy meds can seriously knock you out. That’s not as common with Zyrtec, but 11 to 14 percent of people do report feeling sleepy after taking it, making it the most common side effect reported, says Boomershine.
Since the effects of Zyrtec last 24 hours, drowsiness can hit at any time. Avoid alcohol and be careful about driving if the med hits you with the sleepies, per the Zyrtec site.
Its annoying to feel as if youve inhaled a mouthful of sand. Less than 10 percent of Zyrtec poppers will wind up with a dry mouth, says Boomershine. When you have an allergic response, your tissues secrete more fluid , and antihistamines dry you up. She says that drinking water will help, as will switching to an alcohol-free mouthwash if youre using one that has alcohol in it, as that ingredient also dries you out.
Dizziness can be a rare potential side effect and may disappear after your body adjusts to the medication, per The Mayo Clinic. Give it time, but always check in with your doctor if youre concerned. And, just like drowsiness, hold off on driving if youre getting dizzy spells.
While Zyrtec may make adults sleepy, it can turn kids into little insomniacs, says Boomershine. Having them take the long-acting med earlier in the day wont help either since it lasts all day. Talk to their pediatrician about making a switch.
Antihistamines Can Have Side Effects Especially When Mixed With Other Medications
Dr. Sandra Lin of John Hopkins School of Medicine told SingleCare that taking an antihistamine daily is usually okay. Her warning: “patients should make sure do not interact with their other medications.”
David Shih, the executive vice president of strategy and former chief medical officer at CityMD, echoed Dr. Lin’s sentiment, saying that since most allergy medications are available over the counter, they’re generally safe for long-term use. Still, if you’re taking daily ibuprofen, or medication for anxiety, or have a regular prescription, you might want to proceed with caution.
“When you’re on these medicines for such a long period of time, sometimes patients tend to forget they’re on it,” Shih said. “If you mix with other medication, it can certainly have greater side effects” .
Reason #: Botched Diagnosis
Getting a correct diagnosis also plays a big role in keeping allergy symptoms at bay.
Patients often try to self-diagnose when it comes to things like allergies and sinus headaches, but they don’t always get it right. Maybe you’re sure it’s an allergy, and it’s not. Or maybe you think you’ve got a sinus infection, but you really have an allergy.
If your diagnosis is wrong, your treatment may be all wrong. For instance, if you actually have a tension headache, using an antihistamine won’t improve the situation, says Corinna Bowser, MD, an allergist in Narberth, Pa.
The fix: If you have allergic symptoms or suspect you have an allergy, consult a doctor to find out if it really is an allergy.
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Find Out More About Your Medicine
The leaflet that comes in the packet with your medicine will have detailed information about it, including how to take it and what side effects you might get.
If you no longer have the leaflet that came with your medicine, you can search for an online version of it using our medicines guide.
You may also find information on individual antihistamines on these websites:
What Antihistamine Is Right For You
You can buy many different brands and forms of antihistamines without a prescription.
- Some work for only 4 to 6 hours, while others last for 12 to 24 hours.
- Some are combined with a decongestant, a drug that dries up your nasal passages.
Ask your health care provider what type of antihistamine and what exact dosage is right for you or your child. Make sure you understand how much to use and how many times a day to use it. Be sure to read the label carefully. Or ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
- Some antihistamines cause less sleepiness than others. These include cetirizine , desloratadine , fexofenadine , and loratadine .
- Do not drink alcohol when you are taking antihistamines.
- Store antihistamines at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture.
- Do not freeze antihistamines.
- Keep all medicines where children cannot reach them.
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Whats The Difference Between First
Just like the name implies, the first generation antihistamine were the first type approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They began to be approved in the United States in the 1930s and are still prescribed today.
They work on histamine receptor in the brain and spinal cord along with other types of receptors. Most notable about this generation of antihistamines is that they cross the blood-brain barrier, which results in drowsiness.
Second-generation antihistamines were approved by the FDA and first came to market in the 1980s. The second-generation antihistamines do not cross the blood-brain barrier to the extent that first-generation do and therefore do not cause drowsiness at standard dosage levels. Second-generation antihistamines are considered to be safer than first generation antihistamines because they dont cause drowsiness and interact with fewer drugs.
How Often Can I Take Allergy Meds
This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information may no longer be current.
I seem to have allergies all year round and suffer from watery eyes and congestion/sneezing regularly. Is taking anti-histamines regularly a bad idea?
Allergies can cause a significant decrease in quality of life by interfering with enjoyment of everyday activities and can affect work and school performance.
As you mentioned, symptoms can include watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. It is a common problem that can begin at any age and symptoms vary from person to person and can change in severity throughout a person’s lifetime.
Antihistamines are effective medications for allergies as they block the action of histamine, a chemical released when the body responds to something in the environment .
Increased histamine sensitizes the respiratory tract, nasal passages to these allergens which can trigger allergy symptoms when exposed. Allergies can be seasonal or they can be present year round. Allergies that last year round are commonly triggered by pet dander , dust mites, fungus, or cigarette smoke.
To answer to your question, it’s important to clarify how regular is your intake of anti-histamines.
For my patients who suffer from allergies, we work to get to the potential root causes of their symptoms by identifying and avoiding triggers. If it is not possible to avoid the triggers, a combination of medications may be helpful.
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Side Effects Of Antihistamines
Ask your provider if antihistamines are safe for you or your child, what side effects to watch for, and how antihistamines may affect other medicines you or your child take.
- Antihistamines are thought to be safe for adults.
- Most antihistamines are also safe for children over 2 years old.
- If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, ask your provider if antihistamines are safe for you.
- Adults who take antihistamines should know how the medicine affects them before driving or using machinery.
- If your child is taking antihistamines, make sure the medicine is not affecting your child’s ability to learn.
There may be special precautions for using antihistamines if you have:
Allergic rhinitis – antihistamine Hives – antihistamine Allergic conjunctivitis – antihistamine Urticaria – antihistamine Dermatitis – antihistamine Eczema – antihistamine
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