Antihistamines And Decongestants: Which Should You Take For A Stuffy Nose
Most, if not all of us, have had a stuffy nose and received varied forms of advice from people around us. One family member might offer a decongestant, while another might suggest that simply eating an orange can ease it due to the antihistamine effects an orange has. While both arent wrong, its important to understand which will work best and when to take them.
Antihistamines and decongestants are common forms of medication that you can consume for a stuffy nose. With nasal congestion causing the same, tiresome symptoms, its easy sometimes to want to reach for the closest solution. But the big question is, which best suits your needs?
Conditions Treated By Claritin And Claritin
Loratadine, the active ingredient in Claritin and Claritin-D, is FDA-approved to treat symptoms of allergies. Nasal symptoms such as runny nose and sneezing are caused by rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the mucous membranes. This group of symptoms is collectively known as hay fever. Loratadine can also treat allergic conjunctivitis, or itchy, watery eyes.
While Claritin-D can treat the aforementioned symptoms, it is more suitable for treating nasal congestion and sinus pressure symptoms that accompany allergies.
Both Claritin and Claritin-D may be used to treat itching as well as skin rashes or hives.
How To Stop Postnasal Drip
A combination of preventative measures and medications can help put a stop to postnasal drip. Healthcare providers may recommend:
Staying hydrated, which can also help to thin mucus
Use a humidifier or vaporizer to keep the air moist
Propping yourself up with extra pillows when you sleep, so the mucus doesnt collect in the back of your throat
An oral medication such as guaifenesin , which can thin mucus
Its important to keep in mind that treatment for postnasal drip usually depends on what might be causing it. For instance, if your symptoms are caused by allergies, the first step might be trying to pinpoint what you are allergic to and avoiding those foods or triggers to the extent possible.
As a next step, there are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can provide additional relief. They can help treat postnasal drip by calming down inflammation and thinning or drying up the mucus. Lets take a look at the different types of medications that you and a healthcare provider can consider to help stop postnasal drip.
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Tips For Sinus And Allergy Relief
When allergy symptoms lead to sinus pressure and pain, you can take the steps below to avoid common allergens. If symptoms become severe, contact your doctor for allergy treatment.
Weather services and the local news often have pollen forecasts. When you know allergens in the air will be high, stay inside or limit your exposure to the outdoors during certain seasonal periods of the year. The best time to go outside is after it has rained.
Wash Allergens Away
When you come inside, change clothes and consider taking a shower to remove allergens from your hair and skin. If not immediately, do this before sleeping so that you do not transfer allergens to your bed.
Filter Your Air
Air conditioners, especially when set to recycle internal air, can help limit outdoor allergens. You can also try a portable HEPA filter at home or work to reduce allergens in the air around you. Remember that open windows can let allergens in.
Chill Out & Relax
Try cooling your face to ease sinus pressure and pain by using an ice mask, bag of ice or cold compress on your eyes, nose and forehead. Relieving stress by gently massaging your neck and shoulders can help you relax and prevent sinus symptoms from feeling worse.
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Nasal Spray Dependence And The Rebound Effect
As the saying goes, too much of a good thing is never good. Once the effect of a decongestant nasal spray wears off, the nasal congestion that returns can be far more severe.
This is called a rebound effect, and may occur if your nose becomes less responsive to the effects of a nasal spray due to excessive use.
Excessive use of nasal sprays can lead to a tolerance build-up. If youre heavy-handed with your use of nasal sprays, you might gradually find yourself requiring higher doses to help ease your congestion. Therefore, you should not use nasal sprays for more than five consecutive days.
Doctors have termed this rebound congestion rhinitis medicamentosa. The phrase refers to congestion or rhinitis that is explicitly caused by medication. In this instance, the excessive use of nasal spray decongestants is the cause of congestion.
Some symptoms of nasal spray overuse include:
- Use of nasal spray for more than a week
- Use of nasal spray more frequently than directed
- Congestion upon skipping a dose
With that said, prescription nasal sprays containing steroids do not cause a rebound effect and can be used on a daily basis for years. More often than not, these steroid sprays are not decongestants, but rather treatments for nasal allergies.
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What May Interact With This Medicine
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
- antihistamines and other medicines for allergy, cough and cold
- ergot alkaloids like dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine
- herbal or dietary supplements containing ephedra or ephedrine
- MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- stimulant medicines for attention disorders, weight loss, or to stay awake
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
Health Officials Say Theyre Worried But Not Panicked About Fast Spread Of Omicron
With cases of Omicron climbing across the country and the world, experts believe the variant will become the dominant strain very soon.
In newly released modelling data Ontarios Science Advisory Table suggests the new variant will become the dominant strain in the province this week.
Barrett is concerned about how rapidly Omicron is spreading, but says she isnt panicking yet.
We do have to be careful what we do in the next number of weeks and so Im concerned its spreading very quickly and it has the ability at least decrease the effectiveness of two doses of vaccine. We think a third dose can help to get around that fact, Barrett told Yahoo Canada.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Claritin
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest or
- severe dizziness, nervousness, or restless feeling.
Common side effects may include:
- dry mouth, nose, or throat
- mild dizziness or
- sleep problems .
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Which Types Of Allergic Conditions Do They Treat
In the U.S., Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin are all approved to treat seasonal allergies in people as young as 2 years of age.
All three are also approved to treat chronic hives, an allergic skin condition. Zyrtec and Allegra are approved for adults and children as young as 6 months, while Claritin is only for adults and children 2 years and older.
Lastly, Zyrtec and Allegra are also approved to treat year-round allergies in adults and children as young as 6 months. Claritin is not approved for this use.
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What Side Effects May I Notice From Receiving This Medicine
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- sore throat
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Shopping Smart For The Heart
The next time youre staring down the long shelves of the cough and cold aisle, look past the list of symptoms in bold letters and make sure you consider the active ingredients in the smaller print.
If you suffer from hypertension, your heart will thank you.
And dont forget, theres more to decongesting than taking medication: drink more liquids, try using a humidifier, consider rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution and get lots of rest.
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Are There Any Other Precautions Or Warnings For This Medication
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Dependence and abuse: Pseudoephedrine has been misused by some people to experience a feeling of being energized, more alert, and in a better mood. Excessive doses can cause severe side effects, including high blood pressure, seizures and stroke. It is important to use this medication as recommended by your pharmacist or doctor and to stop taking the medication when your cold or sinus symptoms have resolved.
Heart problems: Pseudoephedrine can cause increased blood pressure. It may also cause increased heart rate or irregular heartbeat. If you have a history of heart attack, angina, stroke or other conditions that can be worsened by changes to the heart and blood vessels, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Medical conditions: Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed if you have or have had any of the following conditions:
Where Should I Keep My Medicine
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C . Protect from moisture and light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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Zyrtec Vs Claritin: Side Effects And Interactions
Claritin is unlikely to cause CNS side effects such as sedation, or confusion when used at dosages of 10mg/day. Side effects may be more likely when used at higher dosages. Zyrtec is 3.5 times more likely than Claritin to cause sedation, particularly when used at dosages higher than 10mg/day. However, Zyrtec is still much less sedating than older antihistamines such as promethazine.
Side effects are generally mild with second-generation antihistamines and include a headache and rarely dry mouth, and nausea. All the second generation antihistamines currently on the market appear free from adverse cardiovascular effects. Few major interactions have been reported with either Zyrtec or Claritin however, there is the possibility that side effects such as sedation, confusion, and mental alertness may be enhanced if given with other drugs with this side effect. More studies are needed to determine if there are any interactions between second generation antihistamines and herbal products or food. Always speak with your doctor of pharmacist before using any drugs in combination.
What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctors offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include:
- redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
- purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
- tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
- swelling about the eyes and cheeks.
Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if the bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.
In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.
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Inhale Diffused Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a strong odor that often helps patients find instant relief from sinusitis. Research has found that cineole, the main ingredient in eucalyptus oil, helps people recover from sinus infections more quickly than those who dont use eucalyptus oil. You can inhale eucalyptus oil through a diffuser, or rub some on your temples and chest to open your breathing passages. You can even use food-grade eucalyptus oil and place a drop on the roof of your mouth.
Mild And Serious Side Effects
Allegra and Claritin are considered newer antihistamines. One benefit of using a newer antihistamine is that theyre less likely to cause drowsiness than older antihistamines.
The other side effects of Allegra and Claritin are similar, but in most cases, people dont experience any side effects with either drug. That said, the following tables list examples of possible side effects of these drugs.
|Mild side effects|
If you experience any serious side effects that may indicate an allergic reaction, get emergency medical treatment right away.
Two things you should consider when taking any medication is the possible drug interactions and potential problems related to health conditions you have. These are not all the same for Allegra and Claritin.
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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
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Why Sinus Pressure Without Congestion Is Unique
It seems like everyone can remember at least one morning where they wake up and just dont feel good. The pressure in their nose paired with the struggle to breathe properly is something we have all experienced at some point.
This issue is known as congestion, and it is that feeling you have when your nose feels blocked. In most cases, you will also experience sinus pressure when you deal with congestion.
Sinus pressure and congestion go hand in hand as congestion is caused by the nasal cavities in your head getting backed up. When these cavities fill up, your sinuses feel the pressure of the added fluid and tend to feel uncomfortable. This is why so often you will see people dealing with both sinus pressure and headaches at the same time.
Just because these two symptoms go hand in hand does not mean that they cant exist in isolation. As we will see, there are many causes of sinus pressure and dizziness that often dont come with added congestion.
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