Hay fever, antihistamines to treat what?
Hay fever and hives outbreaks are back! The important thing is how to deal with them quickly and relieve symptoms. Is a local or oral medication?
The hay, or allergic rhinitis, affects nearly 30% of French. Its symptoms are known: repeated sneezing, itching, tingling nose, eyes sometimes … Its symptoms are triggered by the inhalation of trees (birch, alder, hornbeam) pollens, grasses (wheat, oats) or herbs (ragweed, wild flowers).
HISTAMINE, THE SUBSTANCE INVOLVED IN ALLERGIC REACTIONS
They originate from a overreaction of the immune system that produces large quantities of histamine, the substance involved in allergic reactions.
Histamine is also the source of local irritation or hives caused by contact with certain plants (nettle, cedar, ivy, Parietaria) or animals (armyworms, jellyfish, insects). And again, the symptoms associated redness, swelling and itching local sometimes intense, very unpleasant.
Self-medication treatments available allow you to quickly soothe discomfort. If no improvement is felt within 48 hours or if symptoms worsen (difficulty breathing, swelling increasingly important), consult a doctor promptly.
LOCAL TREATMENTS HAVE THEY THE SAME EFFICIENCY?
Topical treatments containing an antihistamine molecule (which blocks the action of histamine) or cromolyn sodium (a substance that prevents the release of histamine) are sufficient in case of moderate symptoms. Well tolerated, they are also used in prevention throughout the pollination period to avoid aggravation of allergy or its recurrence.
If their action is not sufficient or if the symptoms are very bothersome outset, we must resort to topical corticosteroids.
These treatments are highly effective, are working on a short period (4-6 weeks) to avoid the occurrence of side effects (nasal irritation, nosebleeds).
CREAMS OR GELS AGAINST ITCHY HIVES
Creams or gels containing an antihistamine are adapted. The presence of a local anesthetic or corticosteroid may be more important to calm itching or local swelling (anti-inflammatory effect of the steroid).
These treatments are applied on clean skin cleaned with soap and water, not infected.
WHEN TO USE AN ORAL ANTIHISTAMINE?
An oral antihistamine may be associated with local treatment early allergic reactions to strengthen its action. Low sedative molecules are preferred to first-generation antihistamines (Primalan, Polaramine) that induce drowsiness.
These include the cetirizine or loratadine, the reference treatments prescribed by doctors (Zyrtec, Clarityne). They can be found in self-medication, but their use is limited to a period of seven days, the time needed to calm the allergic reaction. In the absence of improvement, medical advice is needed.