by Dr. Adam Seigers
Allergy season is amongst us and with pollen in the air you may be wondering what to take for your allergies this season.
To understand what to take, it is important to understand how allergies work.
In the human body, immunoglo-bulins the functional components of the immune system are made up of three main varieties.
One of these varieties called IgE or immunoglobulin E, triggers the release of histamine from specialized cells when a foreign substance, such as pollen, is detected.
When histamine is released, watery eyes, and runny noses result.
Anti-histamines have and continue to be the mainstay of treatment for allergy.
First generation antihistamines like Benadryl, effectively target the H1 receptor known to be largely responsible for most allergic responses.
The problem is that Benadryl is also very nonspecific in its effect for the H1 receptor.In fact it effects several histamine receptors, one of which causes sedation. This is why Benadryl is so sedating.
Consequently, pharmaceutical companies have devised medications with more specific effects on the histamine receptor.
With this specificity came a loss of strength.
Non-sedating antihistamines include Claritin (loratadine) and fexofenadine (Allegra).
Other medications such as pseudoephe-drine and phenylephrine stimulate the fight or flight response and in doing so help to open the airways.
They also have a slight drying effect.
Because of their ability to profoundly increase blood pressure and to cause palpitations these medications are not recommended.
For more information, please contact your primary care provider.
Dr. Adam Seigers is a physician with Faxton St. Luke’s Adirondack Community Physicians (ACP) Boonville Medical Offices on Route 12.