Fall is just about here. The air is turning crisp, and the leaves are beginning to turn, pumpkin spice is back in nearly every chain establishment, and, of course, seasonal allergies are in full swing.
If itchy eyes, a running nose, and seemingly inescapable fatigue are keeping you from enjoying this beautiful season, you may look to over-the-counter allergy medications to relieve your symptoms. But when you’re shopping for meds like this, there are some key factors you’ll want to keep in mind.
The main component of conventional allergy medications is an antihistamine. Histamines are the chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction, whether pollen, dust, or an insect bite. They’re what causes your symptoms, from the irritating ones--itchy throat, runny nose--to the life-threatening ones--swollen throat and external blood pressure. Antihistamines block histamines, thus preventing those symptoms. There are two major categories of antihistamines used to treat seasonal allergies (H-1 blockers): first-generation and second generation.
These initially became available to the public in the 1930s. These substances, crucially, cross the blood-brain barrier. This allows them to be very fast-acting and practical, with some considerable caveats, including severe drowsiness. It’s hazardous to drive or operate machinery after taking a first-generation antihistamine. Diphenhydramine (AKA Benedryl) is a common first-generation antihistamine that, in the short term, it can cause a range of side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, sedation, and low blood pressure. Still, it’s long-term effects are even more alarming. Diphenhydramine use is correlated with increased risk of dementia, up to 54% higher than control groups. Needless to say, it’s wise to consider your other options when it comes to allergy medication.
These medications, which became widely available in the 1980’s, do not cross the blood brain barrier to the same degree as their predecessors. As a result, they don’t cause drowsiness or interact with the neurotransmitters the way the first-generation versions did, keeping them from having the same dangers those did. Claratiin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are all examples of second-generation antihistamines.
If you’re looking to kick your seasonal allergies to the curb without the nasty side effects of conventional meds, we’ve got you covered. Agape carries a range of all-natural remedies. For minor symptoms, try Hevert Allergy Relief tablets. For more troublesome allergies, ClearLife Nasal Spray will help you keep all of your symptoms in check. And if a pesky cough is keeping you up at night, Medi Natura BHI Cough Relief is the way to go.