How to treat and prevent allergic rhinitis with cetirizine? 

If you or your friend or a family member have been recently diagnosed with allergic rhinitis and are prescribed cetirizine, keep reading this article to know more about the types, symptoms, causes of the disease. You’ll also understand how cetirizine can help control the effect of allergic rhinitis, precautions, and instructions while taking the medication and its side effects.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a condition in which inflammation occurs inside the nose. The inflammation is caused by an allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction). The most common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis are dust mites, pollen, pet dander, or mold.

When you breathe in an allergen (via mouth or nose), your body reacts to it by releasing a natural chemical called histamine, which causes mucous membranes in the throat, eyes, and nose to become inflamed and itchy to remove the allergen from the body. 

Allergic rhinitis is not the same as infectious rhinitis (common cold). Also, allergic rhinitis is not contagious. 

Causes of allergic rhinitis

 Some of the common allergens include: 

  • Pollen 
  • Dust mites 
  • Animal dander 
  • Molds 
  • Cat saliva 
  • Work-related allergens (wood dust, latex, or flour dust)

Allergic rhinitis Risk Factors

Allergies can happen to anyone. However, it is believed it is passed down through families. If you have asthma or eczema, it can also increase your risk of having allergic rhinitis. Some of the other factors that may put you at risk include:

  • Air pollution 
  • Chemicals 
  • Humidity 
  • Cigarette smoke 
  • Cold temperatures 
  • Hairspray 
  • Fumes 
  • Wood smoke 
  • Wind 
  • Perfumes 
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Allergic rhinitis symptoms

The symptoms of the disease include cold-like symptoms. The symptoms usually begin as soon as you are exposed to an allergen. Common symptoms include: 

  • Runny nose 
  • Itchy nose 
  • Watery eyes 
  • Sore throat 
  • Sneezing 
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Dark circles under eyes 
  • Coughing
  • Eczema type symptoms (dry skin, itchy skin that can blister)
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 

How cetirizine helps to control the effect of allergic rhinitis, use, and dosage

Cetirizine belongs to the antihistaminic class of medication. This class of drugs works by blocking the action of the natural chemical histamine.  

Cetirizine can be prescribed alone or combined with other drugs of similar action to reduce allergies or allergic rhinitis. Cetirizine does not cure allergic rhinitis. However, it is used to treat its symptoms. 

Cetirizine provides relief from hay fever and its symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, watery eyes, itchy nose, or throat. 

Cetirizine use to treat allergic rhinitis

Cetirizine is available as an extended-release tablet, a chewable tablet, and a syrup. It is usually prescribed once a day that can be taken with or without food. To help you remember, you should try and take medicine around the same time every day. 

You should follow the instructions on the prescription label. You can ask your health worker in case of any queries. Take cetirizine as directed by your pharmacist or physician. Do not take more or less than prescribed. 

If you miss a dose, take medicine as soon as you remember it. However, skip the missed dose and follow your regular dosing schedule if it is time for a second dose. You should not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose. 

Cetirizine Dosage for allergic rhinitis

Adults and children above six years of age can take cetirizine. The normal dose for adults or children above six years is 10 mg per day. You should not take more than 10 mg per day. If your allergies are mild, you may be prescribed a 5 mg dose twice daily.

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What Cetirizine side effects can you expect

Like all medications, cetirizine also has some side effects. It is possible that you may not experience any or some of the side effects. You should inform your physician if the below mentioned side effects are severe or do not away: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting 
  • Excessive tiredness 
  • Stomach pain 

Some of the side effects can be serious. You should inform your physician immediately if you experience it: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 

Cetirizine may cause other side effects. Call your health care professional if you experience any unusual or persistent effects while on treatment with the medication. 

If you are on cetirizine to treat hives and if you develop any of the following symptoms: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Swelling of the tongue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of consciousness 

These are symptoms of life-threatening allergic reactions. You should get emergency help immediately if you experience them. 

Other precautions while on Cetirizine: Pregnancy, alcohol consumption and others.

Please inform your doctor or pharmacist about being allergic to cetirizine or any of its ingredients. If you have any other allergies, do not forget to share the same with the health care professional. 

Inform your health worker about other prescription, non-prescription medications, and nutritional supplements that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or planning to take. 

Inform your doctor if you ever had kidney or liver disease. 

You should inform your physician if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while on treatment with Cetrizine, inform your doctor immediately. 

Cetirizine may make you feel drowsy. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. 

You should not consume alcoholic beverages while taking cetirizine, as alcohol can make you feel drowsier while taking the medication. 

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Recommended reading for you

  1. Urticaria: Types & Treatment with Cetirizine Allergy Medicine(Opens in a new browser tab)
  2. Dermatitis: Types & Treatment with Cetirizine Allergy Medicine(Opens in a new browser tab)
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References:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/allergic-rhinitis#diagnosis
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8622-allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever
  4. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-12065/cetirizine-oral/details
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a698026.html
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/drugs/cetirizine#dosage

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