Hay fever tablets
Hay fever tablets, called antihistamines, are very effective at relieving the symptoms of hay fever. These people also available as liquids, eyes drops and nasal sprays.
According to John Collard, clinical director of Allergy UK, antihistamines reduce most people’s hay fever symptoms, including sneezing or itchy, watery eyes.
“Older-style sedating antihistamines, such as Piriton, are used three to four times a day and can cause you to drowsy, ” says Collard. " Non-sedating antihistamines, such as loratadine, are only taken once a day and do not cause drowsiness. Different brands work better for different individuals. "
How do antihistamines work?
Antihistamines function by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical released by body after it has been exposed to pollen.
Pierre Dugué, consultant allergist at Guy’s Medical center in London, says that histamine is kept in certain cells in the body known as mast cells. In an allergic reaction, these tissues let the histamine leak into the blood and tissue, causing inflammation.
Antihistamines are chemical constructions that block the action of histamine at special sites (receptors) in the skin, nose, blood vessels and airways.
Are antihistamines safe?
Older types of antihistamines, such as Piriton, are effective but can make you feel sleepy. So , they could be dangerous if you’re driving a car or working with equipment.
“More modern drugs containing loratadine do not usually cause drowsiness, " says Collard. " There have been some side effects in some patients, such as dry mouth. As long as you’re aware of this particular, you should be fine. ”
How to take antihistamines
Collard says antihistamines generally have a good safety record. “That’s the reason why they’re available over the counter. People with symptoms should take them regularly, not just upon odd days when they feel bad. They work better if you take them right through the hay fever season. ”
Antihistamines come in nasal sprays and eye drops should you do not want to take tablets. These focus on specific parts of the body so are useful if you only get itchy eyes, by way of example. For children, some antihistamines can be found as a liquid.
It could sometimes helpful to start antihistamines a few weeks before your symptoms start, when they start at a predictable time.
Read more about treatments regarding hay fever.