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Another Boring Post From A Girl In A Histamine Haze.

Okay guys, I’m still in a total allergy haze and my husband is going to divorce me if I don’t quit downplaying it. Truth be told: He and I are probably both wrong. My whole, “It’s just a few weeks a year! Why should I see an allergist for just a few weeks a year of misery!” is probably under reporting but his, “She’s miserable for months!” is probably being overly dramatic.

But – I do suffer early Spring. Never any other time of year really. I know people who suffer year-round and I always feel like THEY deserve to see the allergist, not me. But I’m miserable and maybe I don’t want to dread days outside next year. I spent Saturday and Sunday running and volunteering outside so I’ve just been swollen and sneezy and foggy due to the 14 different types of allergy medicines I’m taking.

Here’s what I’m trying to avoid: Taking anything (pills or shots) regularly just to avoid symptoms for this time of year. But, I would like to poll the crowd. What do you take for your allergies? I currently take Sudafed for the congestion headaches which works great but I can’t take too close to bed. I take cough medicine at bed because when I lay prone I start to cough. But that makes me hazy in the morning. Last night, I felt so terrible, I doubled up with cough medicine and Benadryl because I haven’t had a night of sleep lately where I didn’t get out of bed with sneezing fits.

Let me know your thoughts on Zyrtec, Claritin, Alegra. I thought previously that you had to take these every day for the entire season just to have them barely work but now I’m hearing differently. What kind of allergies do you have and how do you treat them?

Other than the allergies, I really had a great weekend. I volunteered as a split timer for a 5K on Saturday and then the Sunday morning No Runner Left Behind trail group I lead organized after our run to help replace signs and sign posts inside the park we run in. It was really nice and fun and I’m glad I’ve found a few times this season to give back to the trails I love to run on. The weather was great, I kept my eating healthy without counting even one calorie! I got caught up on some stuff for some volunteer gigs I do.

I just need to work out the allergy issues. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

33 thoughts on “Another Boring Post From A Girl In A Histamine Haze.”

  1. My son takes Zerteck, and its amazing how much better he is after one pill. Total night and day (but he is itchy/watery eyes and runny nose). My husband takes Claritin. Claritin doesn’t work for my son. Its annoying because they’re expensive, but you may have to try each for a day or two and see what helps. But they are amazing.

  2. I take 2 zytrecs a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. I use the generic of whichever store I happen to be in when I buy them. This time a year, thought, I bump it to two in the morning and two at night and that keeps MOST of the allergy symptoms at bay. I have more than just seasonal allergies at this point, but I used to only have seasonal and I still took an antihistamine daily. It also helps with my food allergies and intolerances to have some antihistamine on board at any given time as well.
    You might have to take something daily for basic management of symptoms and then when you know you’ll be outside or exposed or have been exposed, take more or add a different medicine to it.

  3. I suffered for years with seasonal allergies when the juniper trees in our area pollinate. I had tried every concoction of meds. I finally went to my family practice Doctor (not an allergist) and she gave me a Kenalog shot. It lasts me for about 6 weeks during the worst of my symptoms. During that time I switch to Zyrtec and use Flonase as needed. The rest of the year I take Claritan daily. I lived in that hazy fog for quite a few years but now I know when to go get my yearly shot so I don’t have to suffer.

  4. I am allergic to trees, grasses and weeds, along with animals and molds. So I pretty much have allergy symptoms year round, just varying degrees depending on what allergen is out there.

    I take sudafed for the sinus headaches and pressure and Claritin for itchy, watery, sneezy symptoms.

    I have found that the Claritin you get at the pharmacy counter is more effective. But there are limits on how much and how frequently you can purchase this. With multiple allergy sufferers, I can’t buy enough of this for everybody.

    I also use Pataday eye drops. It’s a prescription antihistamine eye drop and I love this stuff.

    I did a year of allergy immunotherapy. It seemed to be helping but then we moved to a new state with a new set of allergens, so I wasn’t able to finish the treatment.

  5. My family takes the Sam’s Club version of Zyrtec (Loratadine?). I’ve been using over the counter Naphcon-A for my eyes. If I get to the allergist (or my regular doctor), I get a prescription for (I think) Patanol for my eyes, but I’m doing fine with the Naphcon for now (knock wood).

  6. I have seasonal allergies, and taking claritin (regular, not claritin d) helps SO MUCH. I definitely recommend it. Why suffer needlessly?

  7. claritin D for standard southern seasonal spring allergies (especially wisteria – mercy those are pretty flowers that make me want to cry). I do best with every other day.

    Go ahead and make an appointment, or try a different drug – you doing that doesn’t limit anyone else’s access.

    As Aaron Burr says – the world is wide enough for you AND others to not be sneezing and rubbing their eyes (or something like that).

  8. I have allergies YEAR-ROUND, but if you’re suffering for any period of time, that’s all that matters. I take generic Benadryl or Claritin. I need a decongestant too, which can get incredibly expensive even when it’s the generic version, so what I’ve started doing is using a saline wash every other day: you flush out the nose with a saline solution, using either a squeeze bottle or one of those neti pots. (I use a squeeze bottle because the neti pots look like a mess waiting to happen.) It’s not pleasant, but it definitely works! You might want to try that first if you don’t want to take drugs, but if you’re outside a lot you might end up having to medicate anyway.

  9. I use Zyrtec daily and really love it–it doesn’t seem to have any effect besides helping my allergies? Benadryl always knocks me out.

  10. I’m going to weigh in on the allergy dilemma, because I also suffer severely in the spring (usually for about 3 weeks) and also for about the same time period in the fall.

    I take Zyrtec from Feb 1 – Nov 15 every day (in the evening because it has a slightly drowsy effect). When my allergies are REALLY BAD (like last week) my doc recommended also taking Claritin with the Zyrtec. I did that 3 or 4 days last week only.

    I really dislike taking meds but I have allergy induced asthma so if I allow the allergies to get out of control, I will have an asthma flare up that requires a trip to the ER, breathing treatments and atleast three weeks (and a round of steroids) to clear up. Plus limited exercise. No bueno!

    I have a tri friend that is an incredible resource for all allergy med related questions as she used to be the drug rep for Zyrtec. She is also a licensed nurse. I can connect you two if you have drug specific questions. She has all the facts on why which ones work better than the others.

  11. My son takes Zyrtec every night and it works great. If he does not take it he wakes up in the middle of the night coughing and then needs to use asthma medicine. I am trying to wean him off at this time of year but he was getting the black circles under his eyes which is due to allergies. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to stop the allergy meds.

  12. My advice is to visit an allergy doctor and tell her/him what you’ve said — that you would prefer not to do shots, etc. but want input on what else you can do. I don’t have allergies (yet!) but maybe they could just do shots in the spring, or maybe there’s some other protocol for people who only have spring-time allergies. You never know! Good luck!

  13. Zyrtec (Costco generic version) + Flonase for me. Zyrtec Children’s (liquid generic from Target) + Claritin Children’s chewable for my super allergic kid. He had a flare on Saturday night where his eyes were super red & itchy which reminded me that just claritin is NOT enough for him. Our dr told us it’s OK to double up on different meds, but cautioned about doubling up on the Zyrtec for kids – it’s better to add a different med than more of the same med. Benadryl puts both of us to sleep, so I only use it at night, but we will both add it during the worst of the season or if we’re having an acute reaction (especially eyes). I haven’t tried Allegra.

  14. Yes! Do this!
    The actual test is not the most enjoyable, but oh! The things you will learn!

    And that allergy fog has GOT to go. It’s easy to accidentally take to much cough syrup or benadryl when you’re already in the fog, exhausted, and just trying to get some sleep.

    So get to an allergist! Unless they suggest you pray your allergies away, it will be worth it.

  15. Rayne DeVivo – Le Roy, IL – Rural attorney focused on real estate, wills & trusts, estates, and family law.
    Rayne says:

    Co-worker with very stubborn seasonal allergies just got a prescription for Singulair (asthma drug) and said it has been a miracle for him.

  16. Go to an allergist and get tested! He/she can then prescribe a medication that targets your specific allergens. As the allergist I saw years ago explained, the problem with over-the-counter medications is that they are wide spectrum. You’re getting medicine that attacks every possible allergy, instead of just what you need. He was opposed to that, as it was, in his opinion, pumping people up with a lot of unnecessary drugs.

  17. Allegra does tend to work better after several days of concurrent use, but still works if you only take when needed.

    my boys only have severe spring allergies – did you know that letting yourself be super congested that long puts you at risk of developing asthma? They get injections, once every 4 weeks, and now they just have mild allergies.
    They take allegra 180 mg per day – allergist has them add flonase also when they are really bad and sinus rinse.
    The injections have made a world of difference – and the injections aren’t medicine – they are the allergens to help your body be used to dealing with them.
    I take zyrtec – claritin and allegra do not work for me.

  18. I’ve had seasonal allergies all my life. I finally bit the bullet and went to the allergist. It was nothing earth shattering as far as my allergies but she put me on prescription flonase (I get the generic and only pay my $7 co-pay) and I take it daily. Now I wonder why in the world I suffered for all those years, the flonase has been amazing!! Two squirts in each nostril at night and I’ve had no problems with seasonal allergies in over four years. You have to take it every day during allergy season, it’s not something you just take one day here and there but it works wonders. I never had to take any other allergy medicine and don’t have to suffer with medicine head or sleepiness and dryness from all the over the counter stuff. At this point I only use it for a couple of months during allergy season (every day though) and that’s it.

  19. I like the Flonaise (RX is cheaper on our insurance than OTC) and Zyrtec (i buy store brand equivalent) for my and the boy’s allergies.

    I keep a bottle of Arm & Hammer saline rinse on hand too. If I’m feeling too dried out that helps moisten things up. (If you’re nose is too dry and cracking you have a higher chance of infection.)

    I will take a shot of apple cider vinegar for coughing. Cuts the phlegm right out. May want to chase with water if your stomach is sensitive.

  20. Daily Flonase during allergy season. During summer and winter I am usually okay without it, but definitely in fall and again in spring. You can buy it over the counter. The coughing would go away if you dealt with the post nasal drip. The problem is that some of these medications just block the histamines, they don’t do anything if you are already congested, etc. That’s when I get out my trusty sinus rinse (like a neti pot). I can stave off a sinus infection if I use that sucker in time. I swear by Tylenol Sinus for sinus headaches–I live in South Florida, where the barometric pressure changes regularly and I get sinus headaches that turn into migraines. Good luck, Kim!

  21. Spring is the WORST for me. When it first hits, I remember, Doh! and I start on Zyrtec. For the first few days, Zyrtec isn’t enough and I sometimes need to take a Benadryl. Two things: Remember it takes a week or so to reach the steady state levels in your bloodstream so give it time, and take the Zyrtec at night. It’s most effective then because pollen is settling or something (I forget why but the allergist told me night time before bed). After a week, you wouldn’t think I had hayfever. No sneezes, no nada except a slightly dry nose. I keep the daily pills up until summer. If I start sneezing again, I start up again. No pills in fall and winter.

  22. Zyrtek and Flonase once a day. Sniff salt water morning before bed and when you wake up, or at least use something like Simply Saline to give your nose a good wash. Avoid being outside in the evening when the lower temps cause dust and pollens to settle to ground level. Shower when you come in from outside to rinse off dust and pollen. Allergy eye drops also help. I supplement the Zyrtec with one Chlorpheniramine Maleate when needed. My kids’ doctor said swimming is the best outdoor exercise for allergy sufferers, because everything gets washed off and out.

  23. I thought I just had mild seasonal allergies but last year I kept getting horrible headaches and such after triathlons. After changing a bazillon things (breakfast, hydration, nutrition, etc), Kim finally figured out it was probably allergies. I now seem to have them year round. I had to take a couple different kinds of OTC allergy meds (because the active ingredient is different in each) to figure which worked best for me. I now take the Costco Kirkland-brand of the Zyrtec equivalent (active ingredient is Cetirizine HCL). I also now notice that no matter what time of year it is, if I stop taking it very 3-4 days I start to itch (My legs, scalp, hands, and bottom of my feet. Took my a bit to figure that one out.) and it subsides when I start taking the allergy meds.

    My theory is that my body chemistry is somehow now acclimated to take the meds and now it somehow “needs” it. I have not verified or pursued further clarification on that theory yet. I don’t care as long as I am not shooting as many snot rockets or getting headaches. Although I do find that sometimes the indoor pool still makes me snotty.

  24. As many above are attesting, daily Zyrtec plus a nose spray are the ticket. I think my combo is Zyrtec + Flonase also. I’ve used Nasacort (also OTC) before, too. Both sprays help in ways that a pill alone cannot.

    And, the generic Zyrtec is really as good as the name brand.

    If I didn’t take antihistamines and nose spray, I’d be on a decongestant or cough medicine, too. But, I hate the side effects of those meds WAyyyyyyyy more. I take my Zyrtec (because the only side effect is slight drowsiness) and nose spray at night, and most days I’m fine. And, I’m one of those year-round allergy people. I know my combo, and it keeps me healthy. Without it, I’d get congested and end up with an infection.

    Hope you feel better soon. Allergies suck!

  25. The hand and feet itchies when I’m not on Zyrtec are absolutely insane. Makes me crazy!

  26. Coming in from the cold to comment, TAKE THE CLARITIN (or whatever one you choose) these allergy meds are effective and usually don’t cause drowsiness. You only need to take them during the season you need them and the only reason to be consistent about it is comfort. They start working fast and there are two types of Claritin, one with pseudophedrine and one without. The first week you take it you might want to use the 12 hour Claritin d for the day then the 12 hour regular Claritin for night. Then after your sinuses settle down you can switch to the 24 hour antihistamine of choice. Also consider flo-nase or nasacort. With your symptoms in full force you’ll need to hit them hard to calm things down but then once that happens you can just do maintenance meds that keep you from being miserable. Honestly the good antihistamines won’t make you hazy or feel drugged and will keep you comfortable which is better than your current routine. You might also want to see your doctor about a short course of steroids to help you and then you might only need the Claritin/Allegra. Im a big fan of Claritin but Allegra works just as well. I’ve never used the Zyrtec but have heard it’s fine. Hope you start feeling better soon!
    PS I’m traveling and allergies caught me off guard so I had to run and buy some Claritin and Flonase, which is why I keep saying their names, I felt better within a day of taking them, but I started them as soon as I realized the pollen was getting to me.

  27. I had a hacking cough in January. Made me gag and sometimes made me gag so much I would get sick. I started using Nasacort. Coughing went away within days as did my runny nose. Sometimes I use Claritin too.

  28. I think others have covered it pretty well. I’ve had allergies for oh, 25 years or so. I’ve taken almost everything. Go get Claritin or Zyrtec. Now. I use both-Zyrtec is my daily med plush Dymista nose spray (also get Flonase!) and Claritin fast melts I take as a rescue med when I have food allergy symptoms. So, yes, they can have immediate effects you do not need to take them daily to get some relief. I’ve used both when they were Rx only and now as OTC. The nose sprays work best used daily.

  29. This probably too close to shots but this is the first year I broke down and tried acupuncture. My allergies have always been bad and they seem to be getting worse. I also live in the South where the only snow we get is pollen. This year, after spending several days in bed with sinus headaches and general grumpiness, I went to the acupuncturist. My Flonase, Zyrtec, Claritin etc had stopped working and I had to try something.

    Acupuncture hurt but it has changed my life this year. I do treatments once a week and take a Chinese herb called Te Xiao Bi Min Gan Wan. I’ve only taken other allergy meds a few times and I’m about 90% better.

  30. I have allergies all year, some years worse than others. I take allergy meds in cycles because the allergist said that, after about 30 days, your body builds up a tolerance. It’s not fun, but it works. I also do the saline nose rinse thing twice a day and, at a friend’s suggestion, I’ve been using Rhinocort. I was using Flonase a few years ago but I stopped being able to smell things, which made it very much not fun.

    I hope you find some relief!

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