Should You Use Benadryl for Allergy?
Benadryl is the brand name for an antihistamine called diphenhydramine. It is commonly used to treat the symptoms of hay fever or other allergies, as well as cold and flu. If you experience sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, itchy skin rash or itchy nose or throat, Benadryl may help to reduce these symptoms.
You can also use diphenhydramine to reduce or prevent the symptoms caused by motion sickness, such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness. In addition, some people use this medication to relax and fall asleep.
Remember that this medication shouldn’t be used in children younger than 6 years, unless you get specific directions from the doctor. This is because cough-and-cold products in general are not considered to be effective or even safe in children. Consult your doctor before giving any medicines to your child. It is worth mentioning that you should never use Benadryl or other diphenhydramine medications to make a child fall asleep.
Benadryl acts by blocking the effect of certain chemicals released naturally in the body, such as histamine, which is responsible for many allergy symptoms, and acetylcholine, which causes watery eyes and runny nose.
How Should You Use Benadryl for Allergies?
If you are thinking to use Benadryl for self-treatment, make sure to read all the instructions provided on the product package.
If this medication was prescribed by your doctor, follow the doctor’s directions. Consult your healthcare provider, in case you have any doubts about Benadryl.
Benadryl is available in the form of tablets, capsules, and liquid. You can take the medicine with or without food. When using a liquid form, make sure to use a special measuring spoon. If you use a household spoon, you may get an incorrect dosage. Altered dosages may lead to serious side effects.
If you are using rapidly-dissolving Benadryl tablets, allow the medication to dissolve on your tongue and then swallow it. You can but don’t need to drink water. In case of chewable tablets, always chew them thoroughly before swallowing.
The correct dosage may vary depending on the age, medical condition of a person, and the way he or she responds to the treatment. Remember that different brands and forms of Benadryl may contain different amounts of diphenhydramine. It is important to read the doing instructions before taking the medication.
If you are prone to motion sickness, you can take your dose of Benadryl about 30 minutes before the activity. If you are using diphenhydramine for sleeping, you should take it 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
In case Benadryl doesn’t seem to help you treat your symptoms, contact your doctor.
What Are the Side Effects of Benadryl?
Adverse reactions to Benadryl are usually rare. Many people use this medication without developing any significant side effects.
However, some people may experience symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, upset stomach, blurred vision, or dryness in the mouth, nose and throat. If the symptoms don’t disappear after a long time or get worse, make sure to inform your doctor.
If you have dry mouth, sucking a sugarless hard candy or ice chips or chewing a sugarless gum can help to find relief. Make sure you drink enough water. You can also try using a saliva substitute.
In case you develop any mental or mood changes, trouble urinating, abnormal heartbeat or any other serious side effect, contact your doctor immediately. Seek an emergency help, if you experience seizures.
Severe allergies to Benadryl are rare. The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include: skin rash, itching or swelling of the face, tongue and throat, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek an immediate medical attention.
What Precautions Should You Take?
Some people may be allergic to diphenhydramine or dimenhydrinate. In addition, various inactive ingredients of the medication may also cause allergic reactions or other health issues. Inform your doctor about any allergies you have before taking Benadryl.
If you are practicing self-treatment, consult your pharmacist about precautions and contraindications you should know about.
People with certain conditions have to be more cautious when using Benadryl. These conditions include: asthma, emphysema and other breathing issues, glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, ulcers and other stomach or intestine problems, seizures, hyperthyroidism (hyperactive thyroid), or difficulty urinating
As mentioned earlier, this medication is associated with side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision. If you mix Benadryl with alcohol and marijuana, these symptoms may increase. Therefore, avoid drinking alcohol when taking this drug. Inform you doctor about marijuana use, as well.
The use of diphenhydramine may not be safe for people when they are driving, using machinery and doing any activity requiring alertness.
If you are affected by diabetes, liver disease, or phenylketonuria, be careful when taking Benadryl as a liquid or chewable or dissolving tablets. These products may contain aspartame (phenylalanine), which should be avoided or limited in your diet. Liquid medication can also contain alcohol. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor, if you have any questions.
Remember that specialists don’t recommend giving Benadryl to children. In fact, kids are more prone to developing the side effects of this medication. Interestingly, younger children may often experience excitement instead of drowsiness.
Elderly people are also more likely to experience an adverse reaction to this drug. Older adults may often feel drowsy, dizzy, and confused after taking Benadryl, as well as experience constipation and difficulty urinating.
If you are pregnant, make sure you know all the risks and benefits of using Benadryl during the pregnancy period. You may want to avoid this drug when breastfeeding, as it can pass into breast milk and affect a nursing infant. Talk to your doctor before using Benadryl.
Does Benadryl Interact with Other Medications?
Sometimes, when you combine different drugs, they may interact altering the effect of medications or increasing the risk of side effects. If you are taking any medication, tell you doctor or pharmacist about it. Specialists recommend providing your healthcare provider with the full list of medications, supplements and other products you are using. Make sure you get your doctor’s approval before withdrawing any medicine or changing the dosage.
Before taking Benadryl, let your healthcare provider known if you are taking any medications or substances causing drowsiness, including: codeine, hydrocodone and other opioid pain and cough drugs, alcohol, marijuana, sleeping pills, drugs for anxiety (e.g. lorazepam or alprazolam), or muscle relaxants. Some products treating allergies or cold contain ingredients causing drowsiness. Always check the labels on the medicines you are using.
You should also tell your doctor if you use other antihistamine like chlorpheniramine or cetirizine.
Topical diphenhydramine (in the form of cream, ointment, or spray) can also interact with some products. Consult your pharmacist for more details.
Finally, Benadryl can interfere with allergy skin tests or other laboratory tests. Conducting these tests while taking Benadryl may lead to inaccurate results.
Can You Overdose with Benadryl?
If you overdose, you may experience symptoms like severe drowsiness, widened pupils, seizures, difficulty breathing, and fainting. Children may also develop mental changes (including irritability, anxiety, and even hallucinations). If you notice any of these symptoms, seek an immediate medical help.
Never change doses of your medications without consulting your doctor first.
You can store Benadryl at room temperature but keep it away from moisture and light. Avoid storing the medication in the bathroom. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Freezing of the medicines in liquid forms is not recommended.
Remember that all the medications should be properly discarded when they are expired or if you no longer need them. Don’t flush them down the toilet, unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. It would be a good idea to look for some local waste disposal company.