The Best Allergy Medicines For Kids Include A Nasal Spray Or Medications Taken By Mouth But They Are Not Safe For All Age Groups
Story by: Sara Sidery on August 25, 2022
If your child has seasonal allergies, you may be wondering what is the best over-the-counter allergy medicine for kids. According to allergists, the medication that can offer the best relief likely depends on a childs age and symptoms. Generally speaking, nasal steroid sprays tend to be the best daily medication to treat allergies and have the widest therapeutic benefit.
Take An Antihistamine But Choose The Right One
As soon as allergy symptoms set in, Dr. Hays says your first line of defense should be antihistamines.
“Antihistamines are really effective for treating allergies,” says Dr. Hays. “They need to be taken every day while you’re experiencing symptoms, and people with seasonal allergies should proactively take them throughout both the fall and spring allergy seasons.”
There are two things you need to know when it comes to choosing the right antihistamine. Dr. Hays says the best antihistamines are ones that are long-acting and non-sedating. To find one that meets this criteria, look for the following types of antihistamines:
Some antihistamine drugs such as diphenhydramine are effective, but can make you very drowsy. Dr. Hays recommends taking this type of antihistamine only before bed.
Whether you’re buying name-brand or generic, the antihistamine drug name will be mentioned somewhere on the box typically on the front.
“One of the main advantages of antihistamines is that they help with the majority, if not all, of your allergy symptoms,” Dr. Hays explains. “In addition, they kick in pretty quickly. You should notice a reduction in your symptoms in just a few hours.”
What Should I Do When Otc Allergy Medicine Doesnt Work
Most allergy medicine is now available over the counter . However, several nasal sprays are available by prescription only. These include Astepro , Dymista , and Nasonex . Flonase is available in prescription and OTC versions.
OTC medications are often sufficient to treat allergy symptoms, but if your symptoms are not relieved by OTC meds, check with your healthcare provider to see if a prescription medication may be right for you.
If you have asthma and allergies, there are a variety of treatments available by prescription to alleviate both, including inhalers or oral medication such as Singulair .
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Best Otc Medication For Dogs
Some OTC medications for humans can be effective at reducing allergy symptoms in dogs. But before you hit the drugstore, chat with your vet to make sure these medications will work for your pups symptoms and that you know how to administer them properly.
It is important owners use the correct dose and use them often enough for them to have an effect, Dr. Simon said. You should also consider that antihistamines can make your dog drowsy.
There are some dog-safe antihistamines available to pet parents, which can obviously eliminate the dangers of taking medications meant for humans.
PetArmor is a dog-friendly antihistamine that has the same active ingredient as Benadryl.
Just be sure to double-check the dosages with your vet to make sure youre giving your pup a safe amount.
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Types Of Allergy Medicine
OTC allergy medications use a variety of methods to fight symptoms. Three of the most common OTC allergy medication types are:
- Corticosteroids: This type of OTC allergy medication works by preventing swelling and inflammation. Its applied via nasal spray, treating nasal allergies. Corticosteroids are Dr. Passers preferred format of OTC allergy medicationwhile they mainly help with congestion and post nasal drainage, they can also help with itching and sneezing, she says.These work by soothing the sensitive tissue in your sinuses by coating them with the best anti-inflammatory medication, says Dr. Passer. Therefore, when you are exposed to allergens, those tissues remain calm, cool and collected and dont have the over-exaggerated response of swelling and producing lots of mucus.Indeed, one study confirms corticosteroids are superior to antihistamines when it comes to treating allergies. In the study, 88 patients with ragweed allergies received either a corticosteroid or an antihistamine. After four weeks, the steroid nasal spray group reported far fewer allergy symptoms than the antihistamine groupSteroids More Effective Than Antihistamines When Used As Needed For Allergies. University Of Chicago Medical Center. Accessed 05/13/2021. .
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Treatment Options For Allergies
There are various ways to combat unpleasant allergy symptoms, including:
- Medications: An array of medicationsboth over-the-counter and prescriptioneffectively and safely treat allergy symptoms. Different types of medications treat allergy symptoms in different ways, ranging from reducing swelling to keeping your body from releasing histamines.
- Immunotherapy treatments: These treatments consist of giving a patient either an allergy shot or sublingual immunotherapy tablet with a dosage of the allergen to lower their sensitivity to it gradually. With allergy shots, you need three to six months of injections with increasingly higher doses of the allergen to build up immunity or tolerance. Once youve reached an effective dose, you can expect to receive an injection every two to four weeks. Allergen immunotherapy may reduce the need for medications to control symptoms.
Seasonal Allergies? We’ve Got You Covered
With PlushCare’s same day allergies treatment service, you can meet with a top online doctor, get diagnosed and receive the treatment you need. Our doctors can determine whether you have allergies or something else altogether and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.
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Seasonal allergies happen when the body perceives certain outside elements as a threat, and the immune system releases antibodies and histamine in response. The main triggers are pollen from trees in the spring, grasses in the summer, and weeds in the fallalthough mold can also trigger allergies throughout the year.
Allergy symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose with clear mucus, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, scratchy throat, and itchy nose and ears. Unlike the common cold, which lasts seven to 10 days, seasonal allergies may stick around for weeks or months at a time, says Fuad Baroody, M.D., director of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Untreated allergy symptoms can negatively affect a kid’s life. For example, congestion might lead to “fatigue, poor concentration in school, and learning problems because kids won’t be sleeping well at night,” says Todd Mahr, M.D., Director of Pediatric Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He adds that constant nose-blowing and congestion may cause social tension, shyness, or teasing.
What’s more, “because children’s bones and teeth are still developing, chronic mouth breathing can cause teeth to come in at an improper angle,” says Dr. Mahr. “Kids who have allergies are also more likely to have ear infections and sinus infections.” Allergies can also worsen asthma in kids who suffer from it.
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Atopica As A Medication To Treat Allergies In Dogs
Cyclosporine works by blocking the activation of T cells, a type of white blood cell that targets specific foreign invaders, and decreasing the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals. This helps reduce the signs associated with allergies since they are mediated by the immune systems reaction to allergens.Cyclosporine is effective for long-term management of allergic dogs and in some cases, can be used as a sole treatment for allergies.
Atopica takes about six to eight weeks before the full effects of medication are seen. Sometimes other allergy medications for dogs might need to be used to control allergy symptoms while waiting for the cyclosporine to kick in. Its also important to note the some dogs experience undesirable side effects.
What are the side effects of Atopica?
- Vomiting and diarrhea in the first seven to 10 days of administration
- Overgrowth of the gums
- Reported increase risk of urinary tract infections in dogs and fungal infections
The bottom line on Atopica for dogs with allergies
BOTTOM LINE: Atopica can be effective at managing allergies. However, it comes with a host of side effects. This is why it has fallen out of favor in recent years as a first line allergy therapy now that Apoquel and Cytopoint have come on the market.
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Nasal Sprays Or Oral Antihistamines
The best allergy medicines for kids include a nasal spray or medication taken by mouth:
Nasal steroid spray: Helps with runny nose, congestion/stuffy nose, sneezing and itching
- Example: Childrens Flonase
Oral antihistamine: Helps with runny nose, sneezing and itching
- Example: Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra
Always check with your childs pediatrician before using a nasal spray or any other form of antihistamine or cold medication for your child, Dr. Vethody said. Not all formulations and dosages are safe for all ages.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, children under age 2 are not to be given any type of decongestant or antihistamine due to potentially serious and life-threatening side effects, including convulsions, rapid heart rate and death.
If over-the-counter medications dont help, your childs pediatrician may recommend seeing an allergist with Norton Childrens Allergy & Immunology.
It’s Time for Kids to Get Their Flu Shots
The annual vaccine is available to children 6 months and older. Its the best way to prevent illness from the flu.
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Claritin: Best For Relieving Itchiness
Like Zyrtec, Claritin is also an antihistamine best known for relieving symptoms associated with itchiness, such as runny noses and sneezing. It can also be used to treat symptoms that come with hives.
In addition, the active ingredient within Claritin, loratadine, is a second-generation drug, which means it also will not cause side effects like drowsiness to be as severe when taking. Claritin comes as a liquid, chewable tablet, and dissolvable tablet. Despite the vast array of forms available, Claritin should not be given to children under the age of two, and Claritin may not be the best option if you have persistent, daily allergies outside of those associated with hay fever.
Cost Of Otc Allergy Medicine
OTC allergy medications vary significantly in price, according to our analysis. Costs ranged from around 25 cents for an antihistamine tablet to nearly $20 for a months supply of nasal spray.
Our Best OTC Allergy Medications for Adults and Children ranking didnt include the vast number of generic versions with the same active ingredients as many brand name products. Generic products are held to the same FDA regulations as brand name products, making them just as effective as their brand name counterparts but at a lower price.
If you find that Claritin, for example, is an antihistamine that works for you, you may want to consider a generic version of loratadine as a more affordable alternative.
|Type Of Medicine
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Flonase Sensimist 24hour Allergy Relief Nasal Spray
If youre wary of nasal sprays, Flonase Sensimist might be a good option for you. After all, its one of the more gentle versions on the market. Sensimist is also scent-free and practically drip-free as well. Similar to the regular Flonase product, this spray also blocks six inflammatory substances . Hence, it does a great job combatting nasal congestion and sneezing along with itchy, watery eyes, and noses. Even better, Sensimist is also non-drowsy and provides 24-hour relief.
Can Dogs Take Claritin: Loratadine For Dogs
Veterinarians will often recommend Claritin for dogs with allergies. It usually doesnt have any side effects when administered properly. This means that you need to take into consideration your dogs medical history to give it to your furkid.
Youll find this drug sold under its brand name and under a generic. The name of main active component in it is Loratadine. Make sure to look for other hidden ingredients when buying a generic.
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Who Can Take Antihistamines
Most people can safely take antihistamines.
But speak to a pharmacist or GP for advice if you:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have an underlying health condition, such as heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease or epilepsy
Some antihistamines may not be suitable in these cases. A pharmacist or doctor can recommend one thats best for you.
Always check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if its safe for you before taking it or giving it to your child.
What Is A Decongestant
Decongestants do exactly what their name indicates: They help clear up the congestion that allergies cause. Decongestants constrict the blood vessels in the nose, which opens up the airway for some patients, Dr. Aronica explains.
Pseudoephedrine, sold on its own as Sudafed®, is the most common decongestant, but pseudoephedrine also comes with antihistamine added to it. If theres a -D at the end of the name of your medication, it stands for decongestant, meaning that its an antihistamine/decongestant hybrid:
- Cetirizine with pseudoephedrine .
- Fexofenadine with pseudoephedrine .
- Loratadine with pseudoephedrine .
Products containing pseudoephedrine are typically regulated by law. In many states, you have to show your drivers license to purchase them.
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Who Shouldnt Take Allergy Medications
Non-sedating antihistamines are relatively safe for most patients, but you should not take older antihistamines if you have prostate problems or glaucoma. You should not take decongestants if you have high blood pressure, unless you get the green light from your healthcare provider. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a healthcare professional before using allergy medications .
Best Over The Counter Allergy Medication Reviews
Choosing the appropriate over the counter allergy medication can be tough. However, if you consider these factors, your job will be easier.
- Product Quality: One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a product is its quality. Nobody would want a low-quality or easily worn-out object. They are even willing to spend a somewhat greater price for a good product.
- Reliability and durability are inextricably linked. Because it is tough and resilient.
- Ease of Use-The main reason to purchase a over the counter allergy medication is to alleviate as much effort of your task as possible. For this section of our review, we looked at what steps are required for operation and how much attention we had to pay.
- Ergonomics Ergonomics was a much simpler metric for these products. We split it into three aspects: comfort, aesthetics, and profile design. Most of our listed products are decently comfortable, and we think it is one of the groups sleeker and more stylish designs.
- Value is always important, but the range for over the counter allergy medication is relatively narrow. We feel that the #1 model offers a great value for most people and that the #2 is great for advanced users.
After extensive research, we selected each of these over the counter allergy medication based on their performance and dependability.
Best Overall over the counter allergy medication:
This over the counter allergy medication is the king of the hill.
See details features here:
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Symptoms Treated By Antihistamines
Side Effects of Antihistamines
Older antihistamines may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Most newer OTC allergy medications are second or third-generation antihistamines, which often contain cetirizine hydrochloride. This medication is non-sedating and safe to take before most activities. Second generation antihistamines are a great option if youre looking for a non-drowsy allergy medication with all-day relief. Antihistamines can, however, cause dryness as a side effect, especially after prolonged use.
What Are The Side Effects Of Allergy Medicines
Weve already addressed some of the possible side effects of allergy medicines, but they bear repeating.
Of the three antihistamines, cetirizine is most likely to make you drowsy , with loratadine in second . If you want to be sure your allergy medication wont impair your everyday functioning, take it at night before you go to bed or take fexofenadine , which is the least likely to make you drowsy.
And you shouldnt take decongestants for more than a week or two in a row, or you put yourself at risk for heart issues.
What Can I Take For Allergies
Many people experience allergy symptoms when exposed to certain substances indoors or outdoorsoften seasonally. When your body recognizes a harmless allergen as a possible threat, symptoms including runny or stuffy nose, cough and congestion, headache, sneezing, itchy eyes, and fatigue may happen.
Allergy medicine can offer relief for bothersome symptoms, and its available in a variety of over-the-counter forms including oral tablets or gel caps, nasal sprays, eye drops. Many different allergy medicines are available for purchase in stores or online at Walgreens. Some allergy medicines may last for up to 24 hours while others may be short-acting. You should always check with your healthcare provider before starting an allergy medicine as some may not be appropriate if you have certain health conditions or take other types of medicine.
Side Effects Of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is well tolerated, and most people do well with it. The rare side effects of allergy shots include redness, inflammation or irritation at the site of injection, with occasional allergic reaction to the allergy shot. There are no reported side effects or issues from the use of allergy drops. If you are interested in taking the easiest route to a long-term solution with no side effects, schedule an appointment with us to begin the process of allergy drop treatment.
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