Antihistamine – What Is It And Why Does It Work?

The basics of antihistamines

Antihistamines are a type of medicine that are specially used to treat allergy symptoms, from hay fever, bites from bugs and insects, conjunctivitis and food allergies.

How do antihistamines work?

When we are exposed to allergens – like pollen or peanuts – our body produces certain chemicals called histamines. These chemicals make our nose stuffy, eyes red and itchy, skin irritated or with a rash and sometimes even the mouth can itch and swell, there could be vertigo, vomiting, flushing and even increased heart rate.

Basically, antihistamines work by suppressing or getting rid of these histamines to stop your body’s reactions from worsening. However, not every single allergy symptom can be relieved with oral antihistamines, sometimes creams or epinephrine are needed.  

Food intolerance vs allergy

A food intolerance is a physical reaction that mimics an allergic reaction to certain foods and drinks. They can be mild and resolved in safe and natural ways – they’re mostly mild stomach aches and similar. However, allergies create more serious symptoms like mentioned above: sneezes, coughs, severe rash, short breaths, runny nose and itchy eyes.

The most common allergens in food you should know:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Tree nuts
  • Honey
  • Wheat
  • Shrimp

Which foods are safe for children with food allergies?

There are certain foods that have low histamine content or even zero histamine content.

Feel free to use onion, celery, red apples, apricots and peaches, potatoes and long-grain rice, organic olive oil, pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli, ginger, flaxseed puree, artichokes or asparagus too, any kind of legume, cauliflower, beetroot and cabbage, sweet potato, banana and more.

From the fruits, you can make tasty smoothies and soft meals for the children – they will love it.

From the veggies, you can make them as a fresh salad mix with salt and olive oil, in tiny shreds and make veggie sandwiches. Even better, make patties of shredded veggies cooked with olive oil!

Antihistamine for children

The antihistamines come in many forms, names, made by various pharmaceutical companies.

Some include:
  • Eye Drops (Azelastine)
  • Nasal sprays (Astepro or Astelin)
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Palgic or Carbinoxamine
  • Eye Drops like Emadine (Emedastine)
  • Clarinex (Desloratadine)
  • Atarax (or Vistaril, i.e., Hydroxyzine)
  • Levocabastine for oral use – Xyzal
  • And Levocabastine as eye drops (Livostin)

Allergy treatment options

Always have an emergency medicine kit on you that has antihistamines, whether it is nasal sprays, tablets, or eye drops. If the kid has a stuffy nose, use the spray, 2 spritz in every nostril. If the eyes are itchy, 1-2 drops in each eye. If the skin is red, swollen or with a rash, give the child a pill/capsule. There are no serious side effects, except a mild sleepiness and drowsiness, so always follow the recommended dose. Take into the consideration the age of the child and do not increase or decrease doses by yourself.

You don’t need a prescription for antihistamines and can buy them over the counter.

What to do if the reaction is more serious

If the allergy symptoms affect more than one body part (itchy eyes, flushed skin, suffocation and hard breathing), this can be life-threatening and needs urgent treatment. This is anaphylactic shock. Administer epinephrine – they will have an auto-injector on them. Inject them in the thigh – the safest place – and called for medical help. If the symptoms don’t get any better, give them another epinephrine shot.

Travel safe in case an allergy occurs

The most important thing – travel safe. Once you’re on the road, there is less likely a chance to stop and solve an allergy attack. Make sure you have minimum 3 oz. water, Epinephrine shot, a small emergency kit (nasal spray, tablets, or eye drops).

Once the child feels much better, you can have nearby the packed snacks (gluten and wheat-free crackers for example), fruit smoothie in a small jar, or small shreds/patties of veggies too. Additional advice, bring also a probiotic of some kind to cleanse and soothe the gut area of the child and create a soothing balance in the stomach organs.

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