Do Antihistamines Help Allergic Asthma?
If you are someone who frequently suffers from nasal congestion, itchiness, or other allergy symptoms, you’ve probably heard the term ‘antihistamine’ thrown around. They are commonly used for people with allergies, but are they useful for people with allergic asthma?
When you have allergies combined with asthma, you most likely have the most common form of asthma called allergic asthma. People with this condition experience asthma symptoms like trouble breathing when they are exposed to something they are allergic to.
Antihistamines are medications that help stop symptoms caused by histamines. For some people, exposure to normally benign substances like pet dander or pollen can trigger an allergic reaction. During an allergic reaction, your immune system fights against the perceived threat by releasing a substance called histamines. Histamines are what cause the symptoms associated with allergies like sneezing, congestion, and itchiness.
Antihistamines are generally used for the treatment or prevention of nasal allergy symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose. They help with both seasonal and year-round allergies and can provide relief from other allergic conditions like hives.
When it comes to allergic asthma, antihistamines aren’t as effective as other medications. This is because histamine isn’t the only thing that causes asthma and asthma symptoms. However, antihistamines can help somewhat in relieving symptoms that are triggered by asthma, like the narrowing of the airways and excess mucus in the airways. This is why you may be prescribed antihistamines alongside other treatments as a combined therapy for asthma.
In addition to taking antihistamines, you should try to avoid any irritants that trigger your allergies. The most common allergens are mould, dust, pets, and pollen.
Depending on how severe your allergies are, in addition to antihistamines, your doctor may prescribe steroid medications or nasal sprays. For more serious and sudden allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), you may need medication like an EpiPen Auto-Injector to stop your symptoms from becoming life-threatening.
Asthma is most commonly treated with devices called inhalers. They spray medication right into your airways and depending on the type you use, can give immediate relief or help prevent asthma symptoms.