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When exposed to or in contact with allergy-triggering substances (allergens), allergy sufferers can experience allergic reactions that cause various complaints, such as itching, skin rash, coughing, sneezing, or diarrhea. Well, these allergy symptoms can be overcome or alleviated with antihistamine drugs
Antihistamines are a type of drug that can be used to treat various types of allergies, for example, food allergies, skin allergies, allergic rhinitis, or eye allergies.
However, it is important to remember that antihistamines cannot treat allergic diseases, but only to prevent and relieve their symptoms. Until now, allergic diseases have not been completely cured.
So, in addition to using antihistamines, people who have a history of allergies also need to know what triggers their allergies are and avoid them as much as possible to prevent the recurrence of allergic reactions.
How Antihistamines Work
In the human body, histamine is produced by white blood cells called basophils. These cells will produce histamine when the body is exposed to objects or substances that are considered dangerous, such as toxic substances, germs, or viruses.
The release of histamine substances will trigger inflammation, and this is a form of body defense against disease.
However, in allergy sufferers, their immune system will overreact and still release histamine when exposed to substances or objects that should not be harmful, such as food, animal dander, or pollen.
As a result, they experience various allergy symptoms, such as itchy skin, rash and swelling, runny nose, sneezing, diarrhea, or swollen eyes. In fact, in certain cases, the allergic reaction that appears can be severe enough to cause anaphylactic shock.
To stop the effects of histamine, allergy sufferers need to take antihistamines. Usually oral antihistamines, whether in the form of tablets, syrups, or capsules, can start to work within about 30 minutes after taking them.
Types of Antihistamines
Antihistamines are divided into 2 types, namely:
First generation antihistamines
First generation antihistamines can overcome allergic reactions due to histamine while providing a drowsy effect. When taken, this drug can make you fall asleep easily.
In addition to drowsiness, this type of antihistamine can also cause other side effects, such as dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, difficulty urinating, and increased blood pressure.
Some examples of drugs that are included in the type of first-generation antihistamines include clemastine, alimemazine, chlorphenamine, cyproheptadine, hydroxyzine, ketotifen, and promethazine.
Second generation antihistamines
Second-generation antihistamines generally do not cause drowsiness, so you can still move comfortably when taking this drug.
However, sometimes this type of antihistamine can still cause drowsiness in some people. To be on the safe side, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking any generation of antihistamines.
The second generation antihistamines have fewer side effects than the first generation antihistamines, namely dry mouth, headache, dry nose, and nausea. Examples of second-generation antihistamines include fexofenadine, levocetirizine, loratadine, cetirizine, and desloratadine.
So, which type of antihistamine is the best? All antihistamine drugs can handle allergic reactions well as long as they are used according to the complaints you are experiencing.
For example, if you experience an allergic reaction in the form of itchy skin to difficulty sleeping, you can use a first-generation antihistamine. Meanwhile, if you want to avoid drowsiness while treating allergies, you may want to use a second-generation antihistamine.
Antihistamines can indeed help reduce allergy symptoms, but you must use these drugs as prescribed and recommended by your doctor. Antihistamines are also generally only used for a short period of time until the allergic reaction or the effects of histamine have stopped.
Besides, not everyone can take antihistamines. This drug may be best avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with certain diseases, such as hypertension, epilepsy, kidney disorders, heart disease, and liver disease.
If you experience allergy complaints, especially those that recur frequently, have severe symptoms, or it is unclear what the triggering factor is, you should consult with your doctor so that the doctor can conduct an examination and determine what are the triggering factors for your allergies.
If necessary, the doctor may perform an allergy test. After that, to deal with the allergy symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor will prescribe a suitable antihistamine, whether it is in the form of tablets, capsules, syrup, eye drops, or nasal spray.