Managing Your Spring Allergies with Antihistamine

Image of an allergenic plant, highlighting its potential to trigger allergies and the importance of identification and avoidance for sensitive individuals.

Spring is a beautiful season with blooming flowers, green trees, and warm sunshine, but it’s also the season of allergies and antihistamine. 

For people with spring allergies, it can be a challenging time of the year. 

The release of pollen can trigger sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Luckily, there are various treatment options available to manage these symptoms, one of which is using antihistamines.

What are antihistamines? 

Antihistamines are medications that block the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the body during an allergic reaction. Histamine causes inflammation and irritation, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. Antihistamines can help alleviate these symptoms by reducing the amount of histamine released and blocking its effects on the body.

What kinds of antihistamines are there? 

There are two types of antihistamines: first-generation and second-generation. First-generation antihistamines are more likely to cause drowsiness, examples include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). Second-generation antihistamines are newer medications that are less likely to cause drowsiness, examples include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra).

How to Safely Use Antihistamines: 

  • Only use the recommended dosage and frequency. Some are taken multiple times a day, others are once daily.
  • Antihistamines may come in combination with other drugs, or be used in other OTC medications (i.e. allergy + decongestant, cough and cold medicine, sleep aids). Don’t double up on different antihistamines.
  • Make sure you get the right type of antihistamine for kids (ie. certain ages can’t use 1st generation).
  • Safely store all allergy medications.

Antihistamines are generally safe and effective for managing spring allergy symptoms. However, like all medications, they can have side effects. 

Common side effects of antihistamines include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

These side effects are more common with first-generation antihistamines, but second-generation antihistamines can also cause them in some people.

If you have severe allergies or experience side effects from antihistamines, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a live poison expert. With the right care and management, you can enjoy the beauty of spring without being overwhelmed by allergies.