Whats The Best Time Of Day To Take These 8 Daily Medications
When your doctor prescribes a new medication, you may get lost in a list of potential side effects and dosing information, missing out on a key piece of information about each medication you take. Knowing what time of the day you should take your medication is just as important as knowing how much of it you should take. Your body operates on a rhythmic cycle, which means that various medications can have differing effects depending on when you take them. Below youll see some commonly prescribed daily medications along with the right time of day to take them, so you can ensure youre seeing the best results from your treatment.
Q: When Should Patients Start Taking Allergy Medication Before Or During Their Allergy Season
William Berger, MD: Patients are very often confused about when to take antihistamines or nasal corticosteroid sprays to treat their allergies. These medications used to be available only by prescription, but many are now available over the counter. And when a medication is available over the counter, patients may not have access to a physician to guide them on how to properly take it.
In most parts of the country, there are very distinct allergy seasons. In early spring, its tree pollen. In the late spring its grass pollen. And then in the fall, starting around the end of August, its ragweed pollen, although other weeds cause pollen problems as well.
When youre taking allergy medications, its important to understand they work best when taken preventively. You should start taking them anywhere from 2-4 weeks before your allergy season begins. This should get you to the point where you are protected against pollen allergies.
These medications are designed to treat the symptoms they are not going to cure your allergies. If you stop these medications, your allergy symptoms will come back.
If you find these medications are not effective at treating your allergy symptoms completely, you might want to consider seeing an allergist who can test you to find out the root cause of the problem.
Have a medical question? Email or write to Ask the Allergist, Allergy & Asthma Network, 8229 Boone Blvd., Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182.
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Avoid Opening Windows Once Spring Hits
It can be hard to resist the allure of a warm spring breeze once the temperature rises, but opening your windows when seasonal allergies are at their peak is like giving pollen an open invitation to invade your living space and cause allergy symptoms. Keeping your windows closed and using an air conditioner with an allergy filter can be an effective way of treating allergies and may help you breathe better, says Dykewicz.
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Avoid Foods That Can Cause A Reaction
People with seasonal allergies often have antibodies that can cause their immune system to overreact to certain foods. This phenomenon is called cross-reactivity. For instance, if youre allergic to ragweed, you may experience allergy symptoms like itching on your lips, tongue, and mouth if you eat bananas, melons, cucumber, or zucchini, Dykewicz says. If youre allergic to birch tree pollen, you may have allergy symptoms after eating apples, pears, peaches, hazelnuts, kiwi, carrots, or celery. These problems may only occur during the season in which your allergies are at their worst.
Regardless of the season, help minimize your allergy symptoms by keeping all these triggers in mind and avoiding them as much as possible.
How Antihistamines Treat Allergies
When your body comes into contact with whatever your allergy trigger is — pollen, ragweed, pet dander, or dust mites, for example — it makes chemicals called histamines. They cause the tissue in your nose to swell , your nose and eyes to run, and your eyes, nose, and sometimes mouth to itch. Sometimes you may also get an itchy rash on your skin, called hives.
To treat nasal congestion, your doctor may recommend a . Some medicines combine an antihistamine and .
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Best At Night: Aspirin
For years a low daily dose of aspirin was recommended to thin the blood and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, but recent guidelines now say its unnecessary, except for in those who have had heart attacks or stent procedures. But if youre in the latter group and your doctor recommends continuing, be sure to take your dose at night instead of in the morning. According to Dutch researchers, a nighttime dose drops platelet levels in the morning when they naturally surgeand when cardiac incidents are three times more likely to occur.
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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.”
How Do I Know If I Have Allergies A Cold Or A Sinus Infection
It can be tough to tell sometimes. Unlike allergies, a cold or respiratory infection often brings on a fever, so thats a key indicator. If your nasal congestion clears up within one to two weeks, chances are you had a cold rather than allergies. Seasonal allergy symptoms tend to last three weeks or more, depending on the types of pollen youre allergic to. Lastly, differentiating between allergies, cold, and sinus infection is one of those times when you actually can consider mucus color. A thin, clear discharge generally points to allergies, while an opaque, yellow/green, or thick discharge usually indicates a cold. Theres a common misconception that yellow or green mucus signals a bacterial infection, but thats not a reliable indicator. Other allergy symptoms include throat irritation, occasional wheezing, skin rash, fatigue, and frequent sneezing.
Sore throat? Try Sore Throat Tea.
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Body Work: When Is The Best Time To Take Allergy Medicine
My older son, Will, suffers from seasonal allergies. Every spring, when pollens from grasses, trees and weeds fill the air, his nose gets stuffy and his eyes become watery and itchy.
Weve found that antihistamines can provide significant relief. This spring, weve been giving Claritin to Will on a daily basis, and that has seemed to ease his symptoms. But I was wondering whether timing matters. Is there a particular time of day thats best for giving him his allergy medication?
Dr. Prescott prescribes
Claritin, or loratadine, is what Id call a second generation antihistamine. Like its older cousins such as Benadryl and chlorpheniramine, it blocks the action of allergy-causing histamines, which the body releases to try to sweep pollen and other allergens out of your system.
This new wave of allergy fighters, which also includes drugs such as Allegra and Zyrtec and their generic twins, is slightly less effective than the first generation of antihistamines. But these newer drugs hold a considerable advantage over traditional antihistamines: They dont make you drowsy.
With these drugs, you dont want to wait for a full-blown attack before taking them. You want to preload the body each day with antihistamines so its prepared when exposed to manufacturers.
Another factor to consider is regularity. That means choosing a daily regimen that you and your teenager can easily adhere to.
Dust Your Furniture Regularly
Go a week without vacuuming or dusting your furniture, especially in a sunny well lit room and youll notice a film of dust collecting on bedside tables, dresser drawers and any other surface that doesnt get touched often.
If you dont have a regular cleaning routine that includes dusting and often wake up with a stuffy nose, dust mites may be to blame. A dust mite allergy is more common than you might realize.
You may be at higher risk for dust mites too if your bedroom decor includes large heavy drapes, lots of decorative pillows and upholstered furniture. Carpeting, shaggy rugs, stuffed animals, dolls, and books are also dust traps that need to be vacuumed often or dusted regularly.
Keep Your Windows Closed
A cool spring breeze may feel nice, but window screens may keep out large insects, dont block tree pollen or other common allergens the breeze may carry into your home or bedroom. Especially if you regularly leave your bedroom windows open at night to let the cool air circulate inside, you may notice even more severe allergic reactions or symptoms from nighttime allergies.
How Often Should You Take Antihistamines
In addition to relieving allergy symptoms as they come up, antihistamines are also great at stoping symptoms in their tracks and preventing them from occurring in the first place . That’s why, for best use, you should take antihistamines every day during allergy season. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery , taking antihistamines on a daily basis can help optimize their benefits and effects. But is this safe?
For the most part, yes. “Taken in the recommended doses, antihistamines can be taken daily, but patients should make sure they do not interact with their other medications,” Dr. Sandra Lin, a professor and vice director of the Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told SingleCare. You just need to make sure you choose the right medication. First-generation antihistamines like Benadryl tend to have more potential side effects and interactions with medications, so they’re not typically recommended for daily or long-term use. However, second-generation antihistamines like Zyrtec are much safer for daily use and tend to be more effective over time.
Recommended Reading: When Is Ragweed Allergy Season
Which Type Is Best
There’s not much evidence to suggest any particular antihistamine is better than any other at relieving allergy symptoms.
Some people find certain types work well for them and others do not. You may need to try several types to find one that works for you.
Non-drowsy antihistamines are generally the best option, as they’re less likely to make you feel sleepy. But types that make you feel sleepy may be better if your symptoms stop you sleeping.
Ask a pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure which medicine to try as not all antihistamines are suitable for everyone.
Are Allergy Shots Effective
Heres some good news for needle-phobes: Immunotherapy the medical term for allergy shots is now available in a sublingual form, which doesnt involve needles. Instead, a drop of liquid that contains allergens is placed under your tongue, where its absorbed by your system. You still have to see a specialist and sit in the waiting room for a short period after receiving immunotherapy because of the very rare risk of a severe allergic reaction. For these reasons, I only recommend immunotherapy after pretty much all else has failed, or for people with severe symptoms.
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Talk To Your Sleep Specialist And/or Sleep Coach
Even if you follow these tips and make the necessary changes, sleep problems may still persist. If youre struggling with insomnia, snoring, or stop breathing while you sleep, consult your doctor. You may require a sleep test to potentially identify more serious sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea .
While nighttime allergy symptoms do not always accompany OSA, a home sleep test can help you determine whether your symptoms will require more treatment than what can be done in the home.
Dont let your allergies keep you up at night. There are easy steps you can take to ensure that your symptoms are under control so you can breathe easily. But if your seasonal allergies continue to affect your ability to sleep, contact us today to schedule an assessment of your symptoms.
Sublett, J.L. Effectiveness of Air Filters and Air Cleaners in Allergic Respiratory Diseases: A Review of the Recent Literature. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 11, 395 .https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11882-011-0208-5
Best Otc Allergy Medicines Of 202: Breathe Easier This Season
- By Sophia MetrakosPublished OnSeptember 07, 2022
Allergies can be incredibly inconvenient and annoying, so finding the right allergy medication is the best way to overcome them and get back to your life. Going about your day-to-day with allergies can be super frustrating, not to mention trying to keep up with your running schedule. If you struggle with spring allergies, your training schedule doesn’t have to suffer. Simply find a good allergy medication to keep you running daily, even with allergies.
There are allergy medications for everyone, whether you prefer a nasal spray, eye drops, or non-drowsy formula. Having readily available over-the-counter allergy medicine makes it convenient and easy to keep your allergies under control so they dont get in the way of too much of your life.
Below, we share some of the best OTC allergy medicines, who they are best for, and why we think they are the best.
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Best Before Bedtime: Blood Pressure Meds
Blood pressure is typically higher in the day and lower during sleep. But many people with high blood pressure dont exhibit this nighttime dip, especially as they get older. This is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. Thats why experts advise taking certain blood pressure-lowering drugs at bedtime, to normalize daily blood pressure rhythm and decrease these risks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs are most effective when taken before you sleep.
Best Around Dinnertime: Heartburn Meds
Your stomach produces the most acid in the evening up until around midnight, according to research published in the journal Pharmaceutics. If youre on an acid-reducing H2 medication such as Pepcid or Zantac, take it 30 minutes before dinner. This controls stomach acid during the overnight period, when secretion reaches its peak. Plus, watch out for the over-the-counter medications you could be using all wrong.
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Why Trust Verywell Family
As a seasoned health writer, Isis Briones knows the importance of finding products that work best for you and your conditions. You can count on her to always provide a variety of recommendations from licensed medical professionals because she has tested and reviewed tons of products over the years to know everyone is different.
Additional reporting by Katrina Cossey
Katrina Cossey has been a news and feature writer for more than six years with experience at KFOR-TV and BabyGaga.com. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching for parenting content.
Wash Your Clothes Immediately
If youve spent any time outside during high pollen count dates youll benefit from a quick change of clothes when you get home instead of continuing to lounge around in them.
Rather than wait until laundry day, throw them into the washer and immediately wash your clothes. Even when you cant see the pollen or allergens they linger on your clothes and contribute to inflammation and upper respiratory allergies.
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Taking Antihistamines With Other Medicines Food Or Alcohol
Speak to a pharmacist or GP before taking antihistamines if you’re already taking other medicines.
There may be a risk the medicines do not mix, which could stop either from working properly or increase the risk of side effects.
Examples of medicines that could cause problems if taken with antihistamines include some types of:
- stomach ulcer or indigestion medicines
- cough and cold remedies that also contain an antihistamine
Try not to drink alcohol while taking an antihistamine, particularly if it’s a type that makes you drowsy, as it can increase the chances of it making you feel sleepy.
Food and other drinks do not affect most antihistamines, but check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to make sure.
How To Take Antihistamines
Depending on your symptoms, you can take antihistamines:
- Every day, to help keep daily symptoms under control
- Only when you have symptoms
- Before being exposed to things that often cause your allergy symptoms, such as a pet or certain plants
For many people with allergies, symptoms are the worst around 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Taking an antihistamine at bedtime may help you or your child feel better in the morning during allergy season.
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