How Antihistamines May Help Take The Itch Out Of Eczema
While these common drugs arent a cure-all for eczema, they may help you put the brakes on itchy skin, a common eczema symptom.
Unbearably itchy skin is a very common eczema symptom. Nonetheless, scratching only makes the skin condition worse and invites infection, according to Harvard Health Publishing. When itching is very troublesome, eczema treatment often includes oral antihistamines , which are drugs used to stop the itch-scratch cycle of eczema that can bother you in the day and even keep you up at night.
While antihistamines won’t stop the eczema flare-ups from happening, they will help to relieve some of the itchiness, and itchiness is the No. 1 complaint I hear from my patients with eczema, says Debra Wattenberg, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in New York City.
In the case of allergies, the body mistakes harmless substances like pollen or dust mites as a threat and releases histamine, an immune system protein that helps protect cells from infection, to fight them off, according to the Mayo Clinic. Allergic symptoms like itchy eyes and skin can result.
Antihistamine drugs are often used to treat allergic conditions. They block the effects of histamine to provide relief, per the Cleveland Clinic.
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How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
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Things To Consider With Otc Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether a medicine is safe enough to sell over the counter. However, using OTC medicines still has potential risks. Some interact with other prescription or OTC medicines, supplements, foods or beverages. Others cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider before taking any OTC medicines for eczema.
Its important to correctly follow directions for OTC medicines and be careful when administering them to children. You should never take OTC eczema drugs for longer durations or in higher doses than the product label recommends.
Watch Out For These Common Eczema Triggers
- Dry skin can easily become brittle, scaly, rough and tight.
- Chemical irritants are everyday products or substances that can cause your skin to burn and itch.
- Stress can cause a persons atopic dermatitis to flare or worsen.
- Hot/cold temps and sweating can lead to itchy skin or prickly heat symptoms can develop during the cold winter months.
- Infection from bacteria and viruses that live in your environment can lead to a flare.
- Allergens wreak havoc on our lives and come from everyday materials in the environment like seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mold.
- Hormones: Flares may happen, especially in women, when certain hormones in the body increase or decrease.
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Taking Care Of Your Eczema
Stopping itchy eczema symptoms as soon as possible is essential to managing the condition. Sticking to your medications is very important.
I recommend taking antihistamines in conjunction with topical steroids to improve the skin health, says Wattenberg she also advises against topical antihistamines, which she says may actually irritate your eczema. Your doctor might suggest a corticosteroid cream, which is a topical steroid thats often a go-to treatment for eczema, according to the Eczema Foundation, and helps fight inflammation.
Also, youll want to steer clear of irritants or allergens. A study published in January 2021 in the journal Cell found that for some people with eczema, acute itching may be caused by environmental allergens like animals, dust, and mold. Also, researchers found that for those with eczema, taking antihistamines may not always help with these hyper-acute flare-ups because the itch-signals are carried along different brain pathways.
And of course, don’t forget to keep your skin hydrated by using plenty of moisturizer. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, moisturizers help improve the skin barrier.
Additional reporting by Regina Boyle Wheeler.
What Causes Infant And Toddler Eczema
As stated above, eczema is a mixture of dry skin and allergies. The cause is mainly genetic an inborn tendency toward dry skin and allergies. There is no way to change these genetics. The important issue is not what causes eczema in the first place, but what allergens and skin irritants your child is exposed to that are triggering the flare-ups.
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Common Questions About Cetirizine
Cetirizine is a type of medicine called an antihistamine. When you come into contact with something you’re allergic to, such as pollen, animal hair or fur, your body produces a chemical called histamine.
Usually histamine is a useful substance, but in an allergic reaction it causes unpleasant symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, a running or blocked nose, sneezing and skin rashes.
Cetirizine blocks the effects of histamine and reduces these symptoms.
You should start to feel better within an hour.
It depends on why you’re taking cetirizine.
You may only need to take it for a short time or as a one-off dose.
For example, if you have a reaction to an insect bite, you may only need to take cetirizine for a day or two.
You may need to take cetirizine for longer if you’re taking it to prevent symptoms for example, to stop hay fever when the pollen count is high.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure how long you need to take cetirizine for.
Cetirizine is unlikely to do you any harm if you take it for a long time.
However it’s best to take cetirizine only for as long as you need to. If you take it regularly over a long period there’s a very small chance of severe itching if you stop treatment suddenly.
If you’ve been taking cetirizine every day for a long time, talk to your doctor before stopping it.
It’s best not to drink alcohol while you’re taking cetirizine as it can make you feel sleepy.
You can eat and drink normally while taking cetirizine.
What Is The Treatment For Eczema
Treating eczema involves a combination of daily proper skin care techniques and self care, including bathing with warm water instead of hot water, swapping soaps and body washes for non-soap based skin cleansers, and using those sparingly on the armpits, groin and obviously soiled areas but not over the entire skin surface. Plus, applying hydrating unscented skin moisturizers one to three times a day helps control eczema. If these strategies dont work, your provider usually will prescribe a topical medication.
Taking a daytime antihistamine such as Cetirizine , Loratadine , Fexofenadine , or Diphenhydramine at night can help reduce the itching and scratching of the eczema outbreak and give your skin a chance to heal.
In Your Guide to Managing Eczema, learn about the top healthy habits to keep your skin smooth and reduce the chances of an eczema outbreak.
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Can Antihistamines Help Babies With Eczema Sleep
While antihistamines do make babies sleepy, these medicines aren’t recommended for children younger than 4 because young children are more sensitive to the effects of antihistamines. Kids under age 4 are at higher risk for seizures and other serious side effects from these medicines.
Check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any eczema treatment. Your doctor can suggest safer ways to relieve the itch and help your baby sleep.
The Australasian College Of Dermatologists
Recommendations from the Australasian College of Dermatologists on leg cellulitis, epidermal cysts, urticaria, distorted toenails & acne, advice on systemic non-sedating antihistamines and topical corticosteroids for skin conditions.The Australasian College of Dermatologists is the sole medical college accredited by the Australian Medical Council for the training and continuing professional development of medical practitioners in the specialty of dermatology. As the national peak membership organisation, we represent over 550 dermatologist Fellows and 100 trainees.We are the leading authority in Australia for dermatology, providing information, advocacy and advice to patients, communities, government and other stakeholders on skin health and dermatological practice.
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How Is Eczema Treated
There is no cure for eczema. But treatments can help with symptoms. The doctor will recommend different treatments based on how severe the symptoms are, the childs age, and where the rash is. Some are topical and applied to the skin. Others are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturizers. Skin should be moisturized often . The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil. Lotions have too much water to be helpful.
Topical corticosteroids, also called cortisone or steroid creams or ointments. These ease skin inflammation. Its important not to use a topical steroid prescribed for someone else. These creams and ointments vary in strength, and using the wrong strength in sensitive areas can damage the skin, especially in infants.
Other topical anti-inflammatory medicines. These include medicines that change the way the skins immune system reacts.
Medicine taken by mouth. These can include antihistamines to help itchy kids sleep better at night, antibiotics if a rash gets infected by bacteria, and corticosteroid pills or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
Other types of treatment can include:
- wet wraps: damp cloths placed on irritated areas of skin
- bleach baths: bathing in very diluted bleach solution
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Comparisons With Other Allergy Medications
Researchers are often studying, comparing, and improving antihistamines. Other popular brands on the market today are Allegra and Benadryl.
- Allegra contains the active ingredient fexofenadine. Allegra is non-sedating, so it should not make a person feel drowsy. Allegra is also a second-generation antihistamine.
- Benadryl contains the active ingredient diphenhydramine. This acts faster than the other three and aims to treat minor skin reactions, not seasonal allergies. Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine, which makes it sedating, so people tend to feel drowsy after taking it.
When a person comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system reacts and produces a chemical called histamine.
Histamine causes many allergy symptoms, including inflammation of the skin or sinuses, pain, redness, and wheezing.
Immune responses also encourage extra mucus to develop, which helps to clear allergens from the nose and throat.
Allergy medications block histamine responses. This dulls the bodys response to minor or harmless allergens, such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.
Claritin and Zyrtec are effective and safe for most people with minor allergies. However, as with all medications, there may be some side effects.
Loratadinepresent in Claritinmay not be safe for people with severe liver conditions. The liver has to break down loratadine. The kidneys break down cetirizinefound in Zyrtecand the body excretes it in the urine, largely unchanged.
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Zyrtec Vs Claritin: Side Effects And Interactions
Claritin is unlikely to cause CNS side effects such as sedation, or confusion when used at dosages of 10mg/day. Side effects may be more likely when used at higher dosages. Zyrtec is 3.5 times more likely than Claritin to cause sedation, particularly when used at dosages higher than 10mg/day. However, Zyrtec is still much less sedating than older antihistamines such as promethazine.
Side effects are generally mild with second-generation antihistamines and include a headache and rarely dry mouth, and nausea. All the second generation antihistamines currently on the market appear free from adverse cardiovascular effects. Few major interactions have been reported with either Zyrtec or Claritin however, there is the possibility that side effects such as sedation, confusion, and mental alertness may be enhanced if given with other drugs with this side effect. More studies are needed to determine if there are any interactions between second generation antihistamines and herbal products or food. Always speak with your doctor of pharmacist before using any drugs in combination.
What Are The Side Effects Of Antihistamine Treatment For Eczema
There are antihistamines grouped as first-generation antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine. This is not recommended for the treatment of eczema because these have strong sedative effects. Chlorpheniramine stays longer in the body once taken by mouth and therefore, stays in the body even during the daytime.
Chlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine can impair the driving ability of adults as well as the learning ability of children because they stay longer in the body.
The second-generation antihistamines were developed to solve the issues associated with the first-generation antihistamines, so they do not have such an intense sedative effect. One of the many second-generation antihistamines is fexofenadine . It can help improve the itching symptoms in eczema.
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Understanding The Different Medicated Treatments For Eczema
When it comes to more targeted treatments for eczema, the use of over the counter medications, prescription topical medications, and biologics are often identified as the go-to eczema remedies for moderate to severe cases. When used in conjunction with a proper skincare routine, as well as wet-wrap therapy, these medicated treatments have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms.
Over the Counter Medications
There are various OTC medications that can help with relieving eczema symptoms including topical OTC hydrocortisone, OTC antihistamines, medicated OTC shampoos, and other OTC moisturizers.
Topical OTC hydrocortisone is a milder form of steroid that helps reduce redness, itching, and inflammation of the skin. It comes in different forms including ointments, creams, lotions, gels, and tape, and is often used as a temporary fix for itching and rashes associated with eczema. The general recommendation for OTC hydrocortisone use is application one to four times a day for up to seven days. OTC hydrocortisone should not be used for longer durations of time or in higher doses, and prior to use, it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that there are no foreseen complications with use.
Medicated OTC Shampoos
Prescription Topical Treatments
Topical Immunomodulators/Calcineurin Inhibitors
Topical PDE4 Inhibitor
What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema
Eczema shows up in different places and forms depending on your age. In children from infancy to age 2, eczema typically shows up as itchy, red, peeling and crusted red areas on the backs of their arms, hands, the front of the legs, and on the cheeks or scalp. There can be blisters and oozing yellow or crusted yellow areas. It usually spares the diaper area.
From ages 2 to 16, eczema usually involves less oozing and more thickened, itchy red areas on the neck, front surfaces of arms and back of the legs. The most typical eczema outbreaks happen in the elbow creases and behind the knees, the front of the wrists and the ankles.
In adults, eczema it is usually localized in itchy patches, thick and peeling on elbow and knee creases, on the face with itching and redness of the eyelids, small blisters or bumps with redness along the sides of fingers and the backs of the hands or on the feet. In its most severe form, there may be oozing, yellow crusting, cracks and bleeding from severely inflamed open skin areas.
Eczema tends to flare at times such as winter when the air is drier and colder or during your local allergy season, as well as in times of stress.
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Can Emuaidmax Help To Relieve Other Skin Conditions
Although EMUAIDMAX® can effectively relieve the symptoms of eczema, it can also provide fast relief for a number of different resistant skin conditions such as hemorrhoids, cold sores, fungal infections, and acne. Although many customers find EMUAIDMAX® effective for acne, it is recommended to use a clarifying acne overnight treatment solution containing natural ingredients such as EMUAID® Overnight Acne Treatment for fast and effective relief of the symptoms of acne.
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Which Antihistamine Works Best For Eczema
There are a number of antihistamines available in the market, but which one works the best for eczema?
Hydroxyzine is an oral antihistamine that is recommended for those who have difficulty sleeping due to itching. It has sedative effects.
Cetirizine is another antihistamine that is taken orally. Drowsiness is also a side effect of cetirizine. This is commonly known as Zyrtec.
Diphenhydramine is a commonly used antihistamine medicine but it is not fully recommended for eczema because of its lack of studies and proven benefits for eczema patients. This is commonly known as Benadryl.
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