Antihistamines are a class of drugs that you can use to treat allergic symptoms. It can come in liquids, lotion, syrups, tablets, capsules, nasal sprays, and even eye drops! Antihistamines come in many forms, and they can treat different allergic reactions based on your symptoms. 

Most of these medications can be bought from shops and pharmacies. But some are only available on prescription. These drugs have high doses and can’t be bought OTC due to their specific requirements. 

If you’re having an allergic reaction and want to learn more about the medication you’ll take, continue reading since you just clicked on the right page! 

What is Antihistamine?

Inside your body, there’s a chemical created by your immune system called histamine. When this product overreacts to an allergen, e.g., pollen or pet dander, it causes symptoms in your body to occur, like watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing. 

Antihistamines are a class of drugs that help with allergies, treat their symptoms, and help alleviate stomach problems, anxiety, colds, and more. When there’s too much histamine in your body, and you experience all these symptoms, antihistamines help treat the allergic reactions. 

What is Antihistamine Used For?

As briefly mentioned above, antihistamines is a combination medication that can be used to relieve the following symptoms temporarily:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Other breathing illnesses
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and/or throat

Antihistamines have decongestants that help relieve a stuffy nose and ear congestion symptoms you may have when you’re having an allergic reaction. 

Antihistamines are typically over-the-counter medicines, so the chances of self-treating with this medication are high. If you’re doing so, it’s recommended that you carefully read the instructions first to ensure it’s right for you. It’s also recommended that you ask your pharmacist first if you have any questions about the product you’re using. 

You must note that some products have similar brand names but different active ingredients and uses. To ensure you’re taking the correct one, consult before taking it. 

There are cough and cold products that aren’t shown to be effective in a child younger than 6 years old. If you’re older than this, you may not see any improvements in your symptoms. Don’t use these drugs to treat your cold symptoms unless your physician directs them. 

Furthermore, when taking medications, avoid combining  antihistamines and alcohol since it can make you even more drowsy. You’ll know in the following section that antihistamines can make a person drowsy. When you combine it with alcohol, it may increase the chances of making you even more sleepy. 

An exception to this is if you have a severe allergic reaction to drinking alcohol, you may use an antihistamine to alleviate the allergic reaction to alcohol.

What are the Side Effects?

As mentioned above, you can get drowsy when you take antihistamines. The following are common side effects of taking the drug, including sleepiness. However, if these symptoms persist and worsen, you must immediately tell your pharmacist or physician.

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth, nose, and throat
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping

The following are serious side effects, and you must monitor your symptoms immediately if they persist:

  • mental or mood changes (confusion or hallucinations)
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vision changes (double or blurred vision)

On the other hand, if you experience the following severe allergic reactions, you should seek medical help immediately and contact the proper authorities. You must note that a severe allergic reaction to antihistamines is rare.

  • Fast/irregular heartbeat
  • Seizure
  • Rash
  • Itching/swelling (especially in the throat, face, and tongue)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe dizziness

The symptoms mentioned above aren’t a complete list of the possible side effects. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you’re ever experiencing effects not listed above. 

Antihistamine With Other Medicines, Food, or Alcohol

Are you already taking other medications? If so, be sure you’ve already told your physician or pharmacist about this information. This is essential since there are medications that shouldn’t be mixed. For example, if you take antihistamines with a specific drug, it may stop either drug from working correctly. It may even increase the risk of side effects. 

The following are examples of medications that may pose a problem if you take them with antihistamines:

  • Antidepressants
  • Cold and cold remedies that also contain antihistamines
  • Stomach ulcer or indigestion medicines

Additionally, as mentioned above, mixing alcohol with antihistamine isn’t recommended since it would increase the chances of making you feel sleepy. It may even disrupt your day if you plan on staying awake for a meeting or class. Most antihistamines can’t be affected by other drinks and food, but you should check the leaflet with the medicine to be sure. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the uses, side effects, and the drugs you shouldn’t combine antihistamines with, you’re better prepared to take the medication. But first! Be sure to read the pamphlet that comes with your medication, as mentioned above. Different drugs come with different pamphlets. It can tell you about the side effects that are only specific to that drug. Since, as mentioned above, antihistamines are only a class of drugs, numerous drugs fall under these drugs that can alleviate your allergic symptoms.