You Expected Claritin To Be A Decongestant
You might also be expecting Claritin to solve a problem it isnt meant to solve. Although congestion can be a common symptom for allergy sufferers, it isnt one of the symptoms that Claritin is supposed to stop. So if youre suffering from congestion, youll need to use another drug other than Claritin, or youll need to try Claritin-D, a version of the drug that also helps with congestion.
Why Arent Allergy Medications Working Two Words: Nonallergic Rhinitis
| Luke Lemons | â Medically reviewed by Rebecca Rosenberger MMSc, PA-C
Rebecca Rosenberger is the Associate Director of U.S. Clinical Affairs & Education in the Immunodiagnostics Division at Thermo Fisher Scientific and a physician assistant specializing in allergy & immunology.
After trying multiple over-the-counter antihistamines, different doses, and perhaps even getting a medical prescription, you still may be asking âwhy arenât my antihistamines working???â
There are plenty of myths about spring allergy season, and one of the most common is that only allergies can cause allergy-like symptoms. If your runny nose and sneezing arenât going away after taking antihistamines, it may not be allergies at all. So, what could be causing spring allergy symptoms? The answer may be nonallergic rhinitis.
What Is The Best Allergy Medicine
The short answer is it depends. As described above, there are a few things to consider when selecting the right allergy medicine for you:
How quickly you need relief
Fast-acting medications, like decongestants and antihistamines, work quickly if youre experiencing symptoms. And while antihistamines can be taken daily, decongestants should only be used as needed short term.
Antihistamines and nasal steroids can be good options for preventing symptoms from happening if taken daily before allergy season hits. Experts currently recommend intranasal steroids as the first-choice treatment for people with persistent symptoms.
Lastly, keep in mind that not all antihistamines are created equal Benadryl can make you feel drowsy, whereas Allegra and Claritin may be less sedating. Since all antihistamines may cause some drowsiness, its best to see how you respond to them before engaging in activities that require alertness or concentration.
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Alternative Treatments When Allergy Medications Stop Working
Allergy shots, also know as immunotherapy, is a treatment which works in direct opposition to allergy medications, but is the only treatment which provides long term relief to allergy sufferers who find that their allergy medications stop working over time. As opposed to allergy medications, which block the chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, allergy shots work with the immune system to build a natural tolerance to the allergen, thereby preventing the repetition of medication use that just stops working. In the same way that immunizations work, allergy shots involve injecting a small amount of the substance you are allergic to into the body, allowing the immune system to develop a tolerance for the allergen as the dosage of injection is gradually increased over time. In the same way that allergy medications stop working because your body develops immunity to the medication, over time your body also has the ability to develop immunity to the allergen.
Reason #: Medication Mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their allergy medicine is simply forgetting to take it. To prevent this common problem, Zitt simplifies medication therapy when possible and has his patients link the time they take it to another activity to help them remember. For instance, he tells the patient to take a nighttime dose before brushing their teeth and put a morning medication by their alarm clock.
Taking medicine properly is another challenge. And even little mistakes can make a difference.
For example, the most potent medications used for nasal allergies are intranasal steroid sprays, Zitt says. If used incorrectly or sprayed at the wrong angle, however, they can be rendered ineffective. The same goes for inhalers, which have to be activated and used properly.
The fix: Take all medicines exactly as directed. Some must be taken daily or they aren’t effective. Others should be used regularly when exposure to an allergen becomes chronic, like visiting a relative with a cat, and allergy shots must be received as scheduled.
If cost keeps you from taking your medicine promptly, talk with your doctor about it. Samples, lower-cost medications, and sticking with the drugs covered by your insurance may help.
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Nasal Steroids Side Effects
Serious side effects with nasal steroid sprays are rare because very little of these medicines are actually absorbed by the body. They do, however, carry the risk of nasal tissue inflammation. Thats why its important to have regular check-ups with a provider when using these medications for long periods of time.
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Shower Immediately After Being Outside
When you spend a lot of time outside, particularly if youre working out in the yard, pollen can end up on your skin and hair, worsening allergy symptoms. If youre highly allergic to pollen, its a good idea to take a second shower after you come inside to rinse away the pollen and avoid allergy symptoms, explains Mark S. Dykewicz, MD, a professor of internal medicine and the director of allergy and immunology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Allergy Problem: Your Asthma Is Acting Up Out Of The Blue
Breathing in pollen and other allergens can trigger chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, all telltale signs of allergic asthma, says Murray Grossan, MD, an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Los Angeles and author of The Whole Body Approach to Allergy and Sinus Relief. In addition, if you get chronic asthma, eczema, and seasonal allergies, you may have a genetic allergic condition called Atopy, he says. When you have eczema, allergies and asthma together this can lead to heightened immune responses to common allergens like pollen and food. This needs to be treated and managed or it can cause serious problems, he explains.
You cant count on your usual allergy drugs to help. Nose sprays and antihistamines do not treat asthma, Dr. Elliott says. Frequently needing your rescue inhaler is a flashing neon sign that you need a better asthma treatment plan.
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Why Your Allergy Medicine Is Not Working
Allergies are no one’s idea of a good time thank goodness for over-the-counter solutions. However, if it seems like lately that your usual remedies aren’t working, you’re not alone. According to Allergies in America, a national survey, 37% of those surveyed said as allergy sufferers, they have to switch up their nasal allergy medicine at least once every few years because they’re no longer effective.
We understand it’s frustrating figuring out why your allergy medicine isn’t working. To find a possible solution, let’s take a look at why this might be happening to you.
Is it Possible To Build Up Resistance to Allergy Medication?
The short answer is probably not. It’s relatively uncommon to develop a resistance to antihistamines or decongestants, medications used to relieve allergies. Over the counter steroidal nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasacort typically used for runny noses and nasal congestion helps to suppress your allergic responses and the body’s production of histamines or other proteins, but you won’t develop a resistance to them.
However, some OTC allergy medicine nasal decongestant sprays may make your symptoms worse the longer you use them. What happens is you may experience rebound congestion, which is a fancy way of saying that your nasal linings will swell if you use it for more than three or four days this swelling has nothing to do with your original or seasonal allergies allergy itself, rather it’s the nasal spray.
How Long Will It Take For My Allergy Medicine To Work
When youre experiencing allergy symptoms, you want to feel better and fast. But because each product works differently and treats specific symptoms, its important that you select the allergy medicine that will help you the most.
If youre looking for fast congestion relief, oral and nasal decongestants can start working in 15 to 30 minutes.
Nasal steroids, on the other hand, take the longest to provide a benefit sometimes even a few weeks. Thats why theyre better for symptom prevention instead of treating symptoms as they happen.
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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
Treating Severe Allergic Reactions
Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.
If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical help.
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Best For Pet Allergies: Xyzal Allergy Tablet
Maximum strength for severe allergies of all kinds
Eases pet dander irritations
Better for those under their 60s
Can cause drowsiness
No matter how much you love your furry friends, life isnt going to be easy if youre allergic to them. You can give yourself some relief by taking the Xyzal Allergy Relief Tablets that were made to alleviate symptoms associated with animal dander allergies.
Unless youre willing to get rid of your pet, many say this is the only thing that works. Additionally, Parikh suggests keeping the pet out of your bedroom and getting a HEPA air purifier.
Stay Away From Chlorine And Strong Perfumes
Odors such as chlorine from a swimming pool and strong perfumes can irritate the nasal airways and lungs and make you cough. Irritants such as perfume and dyes in cosmetics and cleaning products can also cause an allergic skin reaction, known as contact dermatitis. Dermatitis can cause a rash and lead to itching, which will make your other allergy symptoms feel even worse.
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Best Allergy Fix: Inhaled Steroids
Experts now know that when asthma isnt properly controlled, the swelling and spasming in the airways can get worse and potentially cause long-term damage to the respiratory system. I cant stress enough that if you have spring allergies, you shouldnt be on as-needed rescue inhaler you should be on every day steroid inhaler, says Dr. Elliott. You dont want to let it get out of control, because then it snowballs into an asthma exacerbation. Book an appointment ASAP with an allergist or pulmonologist, who can prescribe a steroid inhaler, such as Flovent. You need to use these steroid inhalers every single day for them to work. And if that doesnt make you feel much better? In some cases, allergists will prescribe a pill called Singulair for allergic asthma. It controls leukotrienes, a chemical in our body that triggers some but not all cases of allergic asthma. It only works 25 to 50 percent of the time, however, and can have side effects, so it isnt usually a first-line treatment.
Allergy Problem: Youre So Tired
Its beautiful out but instead of feeling pumped, you feel pooped. Allergies may be the last thing you suspect, but dont overlook them, Dr. Elliott says. In fact, before she became a doctor, she used to feel exhausted around the same time each year and didnt know why. Every summer in August, I would feel so tired. I was drinking more and more caffeine, but I had a tired and foggy feeling, she says. Once she got diagnosed with ragweed allergies and treated them, she stopped feeling zonkedand she found her calling to become an allergist.
Heres how allergies leave you drained: When your body encounters an allergen, it mounts an immune response, just as if you were exposed to a virus. That reaction takes energy. Not to mention, allergies disturb your sleep, as the nasal passages can get so congested that you end up mouth-breathing. Allergies can even lead to sleep apnea, a condition in which you wake up repeatedly during the night because youre not getting enough oxygen. Its treatable, but its a risk factor for heart disease, so be sure to see a doctor.
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What Happens If You Take 2 Claritin In 24 Hours
Do not take more than one dose in 24 hours. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Best Allergy Fix: Start Your Meds Before Allergy Season Hits
The sooner you get your allergies under the control, the better youll feel. That means if you have grass allergies, which hit in summer, you should start taking your meds in spring. Take the medication exactly as prescribed and dont skip doses, you want the medications to be in full effect before the season gets going, Dr. Caudle advises. Once the inflammatory process is underway, its harder to control.
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What To Do When Your Allergy Medication Stops Working
Most allergy sufferers will find that once they determine a set of medications that initially resolve their symptoms, they can seasonally rotate the medications as the previous meds stop working. Many will find that periodic use of over the counter allergy medications when prescription remedies stop working seem to dramatically decrease symptoms for the remainder of the current allergy season. Of course, be sure to notify your doctor when your allergy medication stops working and you have switched to an over the counter treatment.
Best Allergy Fix: Steroid Nasal Sprays
Surprise: Steroid nasal sprays are better than antihistamines at relieving hay fever symptoms in general and sinus woes in particular, Dr. Elliott says. The reason they are ideal, she adds, is they target multiple chemicals that your body produces when exposed to an allergen antihistamines, on the other hand, only stop one of these chemicals, histamine. Steroid nasal sprays, which are available over-the-counter , also shrink the swollen tissue inside your nose and sinuses, so snot can drain, and you can breathe. If youre only using your steroid spray on bad allergy days, youre using it all wrong: It is a preventative medicine, which means you need to take it every day at the same time for it to work right. Give it five to seven days to kick in, then stick with it straight through allergy season. And avoid the decongestant nasal sprays like Afrin, Dr. Elliott adds, because when taken for more than three days, they can cause rebound congestion, leading to more misery.
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Signs Of Severe Allergic Reaction
While most cases of CIU arent dangerous, there are several warning signs that you should be aware of. Sudden and severe hives can mean youre experiencing an allergic reaction and need urgent medical attention.
If you experience any of the following symptoms alongside a hives outbreak, call 911 or go to the emergency room:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of the lips or tongue
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
Avoid Foods That Can Cause A Reaction
People with seasonal allergies often have antibodies that can cause their immune system to overreact to certain foods. This phenomenon is called cross-reactivity. For instance, if youre allergic to ragweed, you may experience allergy symptoms like itching on your lips, tongue, and mouth if you eat bananas, melons, cucumber, or zucchini, Dykewicz says. If youre allergic to birch tree pollen, you may have allergy symptoms after eating apples, pears, peaches, hazelnuts, kiwi, carrots, or celery. These problems may only occur during the season in which your allergies are at their worst.
Regardless of the season, help minimize your allergy symptoms by keeping all these triggers in mind and avoiding them as much as possible.
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Allergy Problem: You Cant Stop Sneezing And Sniffling
So youre on three different allergy drugs and you still feel wretched? Its only normal to ask your doctor : Has my body built up tolerance to my antihistamine? But the truth is, thats an urban legend, Dr. Caudle says. One of the biggest signs I see that a patients allergy meds are not working well for them, is that they still have symptoms despite properly taking their medications, she says. Some also complain of some improvement in symptoms but not total symptom resolution with taking their medications. This is what tells me that we need to rethink our allergy treatment strategy.
Best Eye Drops: Alcon Naphcon Eye Drops
Non-oral solution for itchy, red eyes
Great size for on-the-go relief
Clears the eyes quickly
Can cause eye dryness if used excessively
Itchy, red eyes are a common reaction to allergies, but luckily, this problem can quickly be solved with proper eye drops. The highly recommended Alcon Naphcon-A Allergy Relief Eye Drops are a reliable option as the formula combines a redness reliever and an antihistamine ingredient to bring your eyes back to normal.
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