11 Things You Need To Know About Allergies

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Ask The Pharmacist  with Michael White; Dept. Of Pharmacy Practice, UConn School Of Pharmacy


  1. Benedryl is the strongest antihistamine but it can make you sleepy and has a number of drug interactions. So this is a great antihistamine for bedtime but check with your pharmacist to be sure your heart medication or antidepressants are not going to interact.
  1. Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra are taken once a day and they don’t make you sleepy.


  1. Some of these products are combined with a decongestant, which constrict blood vessels in the nose and make your nose run less. However, people with high blood pressure, glaucoma, and prostate enlargement should avoid decongestants or the “D” forms of drugs like Claritin-D or products with phenylephrine in them.
  1. Deocngestants can also make it harder for you to get to sleep so avoid using it within a couple hours of bedtime if that is a problem you have.
  1. If your main problem is a runny nose, or if your only remaining symptom after taking and antihistamine is runny nose, you can use Nasalcrom or a nasal corticosteroid. Nasalcrom works on mast cells, stopping them from releasing histamine while corticosteroids works to block many points in the inflammatory response. Nasalcrom is not as potent as nasal corticosteroids, but doesn’t have as many side effects.
  1. If your main side effects are watery eyes, there are prescription antihistamine eyedrops and Nasalcrom like eyedrops that you can take as well.
  2. Reducing your exposure to allergens can really help.
  3. Running the air-conditioner in the car or house and buying a HEPA air filter for your bedroom can all help.
  4. Wash off the allergens by showering and washing your hands and keep your hands off your eyes and face.
  5. You can also desensitize yourself by getting allergy shots, but the benefits come after several months of therapy so you can’t start now and benefit in the next few weeks.
  6. Some people find taking honey can help desensitize allergies but the honey has to be local and you will need to take it every day for several days before you get any effect. The pollen trapped in the honey desensitizes you to allergens in the air but again, if the honey is from Guatemala, you won’t get any benefit here in Connecticut.

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