The A,B,Cs and Zs of Antihistamines
A is for Allegra or fexofenadine, B is for Benadryl or diphenhydramine, C is for Claritin or loratadine and Z is for Zyrtec or cetirizine.
First and foremost, Benadryl can be dangerous. Everyone knows it causes sedation in most people but some of you still contend, “It doesn’t bother me!” Here is some data to the contrary. A well known study on antihistamines was written by an author named Weiler and published in 2000 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Using a driving simulator, he compared the effects of Benadryl, Allegra, alcohol and placebo. He measured how well subjects could follow another vehicle at a set distance, how many times they got out of their lane and reaction times when responding to an obstacle put in their path. The subjects taking Benadryl had the worst performance—worse than alcohol! They also divided up the Benadryl takers inquiring which ones felt subjectively unaffected by the drug. The study found that those people still objectively had slower reaction times. So even if you think your immune to the effects of Benadryl, studies show that to be false. The Allegra arm of the study showed no effect on cognition. A lot of UPS pilots reside here in Louisville, and this study is often cited to allow UPS pilots to take Allegra while in the air.
Benadryl can also be an issue for our children. Michael Blaiss, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, wrote a review in Clinical Therapeutics in 2004 about antihistamine prescribing strategies in school age children. He cites the detrimental effects of older sedating antihistamines on their “physical, social, and psychological well-being and academic performance.”
The take-home message is Benadryl should not be used routinely during the day. Newer agents such as Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin have much better side effect profiles. Even Zyrtec cannot be called “non-sedating.” It’s also associated with sedation in some people and is therefore called “less sedating.” This becomes an issue if you operate heavy machinery or fly an airplane.
Hopefully you are still awake. Stay tuned for a blog on the ever-changing OTC nasal steroid market. Be sure to “like” my facebook page www.facebook.com/drdamin and share with other allergy sufferers.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.
“The average child experiences between 6-10 viral upper respiratory infections a year. The average duration of each cold is 7-14 days. That means, on average, infants and toddlers can be sick for 4-6 months each year. With a normal bell curve distribution, 50% of children will be sick more than this. Parents, you’re not imagining things when you think your kids are sick all the time. Sometimes they are, and that’s not abnormal. Ugh.
It’s actually counterintuitive, but if your child falls within the realm of the average number of illnesses, for the average duration, this is a sign that they actually have a healthy and strong immune system. Many people mistake frequent colds for a sign of a “low immune system,” but it’s actually the opposite: it means your child’s immune system is working. So why do so many people, including some doctors, misunderstand the immune system? How does the immune system even work?” Read more below.
Source: Can You Boost Your Kid’s “Low” Immune System? | The Scientific Parent
Dave Stukus, MD – Board of Directors for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Asst. Prof. at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.
Can you believe, despite the warmth, fall will be here in three days? For many people with allergies, fall is the worst time to be outside. Start taking your medication (antihistamines/steroids) two weeks before symptoms are likely to set in, because once your nasal or airway passages are inflamed, it reduces the chances medication will work. Also, be sure to continue your medication for a couple of weeks after the first frost.
Questions? Call our office today at (502) 882-2063 to make an appointment!
Louisville’s pollen count 9/12-9/14.
If you’ve seen the weather forecast this week, you may have noticed the high ragweed pollen level alerts. This is problematic for many, as it is estimated 15-20% of Americans suffer from ragweed allergy. This green flowering weed (17 different varieties, not to be confused with Goldenrod, Kentucky’s state flower) makes millions of us miserable with runny noses, itchy throats and burning eyes.
A single ragweed plant can produce one billion pollen grains per season, and the lightweight pollen grains can be carried up to 400 miles in the wind! Ragweed is very hardy and can be found in vacant lots, the side of the roads, parks and fields; it can thrive in poor soil conditions. In our area, the ragweed pollination ends around the time of the first frost.
Also, some people with ragweed allergy experience an itchy throat or mouth after eating some common fresh fruits and vegetables. The condition is called oral allergy syndrome and an allergist can help you diagnose and manage your symptoms.
What can you do?
- See an allergist to determine the culprit of your allergies.
- There are over-the-counter and prescription medications which can help reduce pollen allergy symptoms including nasal sprays, antihistimines and decongestants.
- If these medicines do not provide relief, you may be a candidate for immunotherapy (allergy shots).
- Avoidance can help lessen symptoms. Keep windows closed and use a HEPA filter. Early mornings are the best time to get outside since ragweed is a late-morning pollinator.
Call our office today at (502) 882-2063 to schedule an appointment to help you figure out your allergies and come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
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You could save about $400 per two-pack with generic Adrenaclick and still protect against life-threatening allergy attacks.
Source Consumer Reports: Can You Get a Cheaper EpiPen? – Consumer Reports
Posted in My Medical Blog
Tagged adrenaclick, allergy partners of louisville, allergy shots, anaphylaxis, cost of epinephrine, Dr. Damin, epinephrine, epipen, food allergies, louisville allergist, prescription EpiPen, save money