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How Can Antihistamines Help with Hay Fever?
Nature supplied a human body with the minimum set of protective tools to use when any kind of danger is suspected. Due to the immense effort of Nature, we can now live our lives most of the time not worrying about viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. attacking our bodies. The simplest example is an allergic reaction to a potentially dangerous chemical or substance, which is a part of the body’s protective system.
At the same time, Nature also supplied us with mind or intellect, which is seen in the power to think, to discover, to study, to invent and to improve. This tool is now effectively used by us in case if the main minimum set fails to protect us properly, or if it malfunctions.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction occurring in millions of people, which is, actually, an exaggerated response of our protective system to substances we inhale. The symptoms of hay fever may significantly worsen our lives; that is why it seems reasonable to suppress this natural reaction of the body.
The most popular means invented for this purpose by the brightest minds of the human kind are antihistamines – medications, which effectively lessen sneezing, itching, swelling, and redness associated with allergy.
Antihistamines work by inhibiting the action of histamine – a substance released in the body during allergy. Blocking histamine receptors is their main function. Allergic symptoms occur when the released histamine molecules bind to the receptors; antihistamines prevent this from happening by attaching to the receptors before the histamine molecules do.
As a result of the medications’ activity such symptoms as irritation and watery discharge from the nose, or eyes irritation, as well as other above mentioned signs, are significantly reduced. At the same time, antihistamines change neither the cause of the allergy nor body’s reaction to the allergy trigger.
There are two generations of antihistamine medications. The older ones bind to histamine receptors in the brain. Due to their non-selective action these drugs cause sedation, sleepiness, and drowsiness (Chlorpheniramine, Dexchlorpheniramine, Promethazine). Newer generation of antihistamines counteract with only peripheral histamine receptors in the nose; that is why they produce fewer side effects and are usually called “non-sedating” (Cetirazine, Desloratadine, Fexofenadine, Loratadine).
Common adverse reactions, provoked by the use of antihistamines, are most often associated with the older drugs; however, newer ones can also produce undesirable events in some people. The usual side effects include headaches, dry mouth, upset stomach and blurred vision. Rare cardiovascular events were also reported; therefore, people suffering from cardiovascular conditions should use these drugs with caution, and are sometimes recommended against the use of antihistamines.
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The drugs to fight allergy come in the form of nose sprays, which can be used on “as needed” basis, because they start acting pretty fast; tablets, capsules, and liquids, which are usually taken regularly to prevent allergy outbreaks; and eye drops, also used when it is necessary. There are also topical creams available to fight skin symptoms of the allergy.
Although different antihistamines are available without the prescription, it is better to consult a health-care provider before using them, because usually the frequency and dose of the drug taken is chosen individually taking into account the state of health of every patient.

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