What Are Antihistamines?
They Ease The Itch To Give You a Better Night Sleep


Well what are antihistamines? They are most commonly known for helping people who suffer from hay fever and some other allergies.

They are also sometimes prescribed by your doctor to help with treating eczema.

There are no definite studies to show that antihistamines are effective in the treatment of eczema. They are used to reduce the itchiness of the skin.

This can help to limit the itch-scratch cycle, so prevent further inflammation and damage to the skin.

They work by limiting the production of histamines.

Histamines are produced by the body to defend itself against allergens.

When these histamines do their job they cause the symptoms of an allergy. So when you have eczema the symptoms would show as itchiness, skin redness and a rash.

There are 2 types of antihistamines

  • Sedating (drowsy type)
  • Non-sedating (non drowsy type)

Sedating

Sedating antihistamines are an older type of treatment.

As their name suggests, they have a sedative effect on the body. If you were prescribed them you would take them an hour before going to sleep.

They cause drowsiness. This may help with you or your child's eczema. Night-time can be a difficult time for an eczema sufferer. You may find your eczema is more itchy. This can cause disruptive sleep.

The sedating antihistamine helps in 2 ways

  • To stop the itchiness
  • To help you to sleep

Together, these benefits can help you and your child have a better night's sleep.

It is recommended that a sedating antihistamine is not taken before you drive, or use machinery.

You would be given tablets.

The main ones used are

  • Diphenhydramine. Brand name is Benadryl
  • Hydroxyzine. Brand name is Vistaril or Atarax

Non-Sedating

These can be taken during the day. They are a non-drowsy antihistamine. They will help to relieve the irritation that itching causes.

These are also in tablet form.

The main ones used are

  • Fexofenadine. Brand name is Allegra
  • Loratadine. Brand name is Claritin




You can buy some antihistamines over the counter at your local chemist or pharmacy. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor before taking them.

Especially if you have

  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Chronic asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma

It is not recommended to take antihistamines if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


What Are Antihistamines Side Effects

As with any medication there is a chance of suffering from side effects. They are more common in children and the elderly.

Antihistamine side effects include

  • headaches
  • drowsiness
  • constipation
  • confusion
  • blurred vision

If you feel like you are suffering from any of the side effects, stop taking the medication and speak to your doctor.




There are some antihistamines that are available as a cream. These are not recommended for treating eczema. There does not seem to be any real benefit in using them, and they may also irritate your skin.

Even though antihistamines can be a part of your eczema treatment, it is important to use emollients and topical steroids. These will help to keep your skin moisturised, to prevent further damage.


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