Does an antihistamine dry up sinus drainage?
Because antihistamines prevent the release of histamine, they dry up the excess fluids that lead to excessive tearing and a runny nose.
Over-the-counter decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can help reduce congestion and eliminate postnasal drip. Newer, nondrowsy antihistamines like loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin) can work to get rid of postnasal drip. However, these are more effective after you take them for several days.
Antihistamines and decongestants can often help with postnasal drip caused by sinusitis and viral infections. They can also be effective, along with steroid nasal sprays, for postnasal drip caused by allergies.
Along the same lines as OTC options, antihistamine medications, such as Sudafed, Claritin, Zyrtec or Benadryl, can also offer sinus infection symptom relief. While these medications specifically target allergy symptoms, sinus infection symptoms can be similar, making antihistamines worth a try.
How do you get rid of sinus drainage at home? Depending on the cause of your sinus drainage, you may be able to thin and remove it by staying hydrated. Other than plain water, you can try warm water with honey, tea, broth, or juice. Other remedies include nasal irrigation and breathing in steam.
Antihistamines can help by inhibiting the production of symptom-causing chemicals, and decongestants work by reducing the amount of fluid in the nose. While they'll both help, antihistamines are a bit better because they can address multiple symptoms rather than just one.
For true cold symptoms, a decongestant will provide more relief than an antihistamine. If you notice your “cold” symptoms occur at the same time each year (spring for examine), or are consistent year-round, you may actually have allergies that could benefit from antihistamine medication.
Here are a few tips for dealing with the drainage and preventing larger problems from developing. Thin the drainage by staying well hydrated and using a humidifier at home, especially in your bedroom. Flush your sinuses regularly with a salt water solution to encourage healthy drainage and prevent blockages.
- Rest. Rest helps the body fight infection and speed recovery.
- Drink fluids. Keep drinking plenty of fluids.
- Use a warm compress. A warm compress on the nose and forehead might help ease pressure in the sinuses.
- Keep sinuses moist.
Forceful blowing can irritate the nasal passages and propel bacteria-laden mucus back up into your sinuses. Avoid antihistamines unless prescribed. Antihistamines make mucus thick and hard to drain. Be careful with decongestants.
Do antihistamines make mucus thicker?
"The downside of Benadryl and antihistamines during a time when you have mucus buildup is they make the mucus thicker, so it has a harder time getting out of the sinus," said Larian. Instead, prescription nasal steroids can help ease symptoms. Experts also recommend using saline nasal irrigation for relief.
Antihistamines can treat an allergy-induced runny nose, reducing the allergic response and drying up mucus. Decongestants can ease the symptoms of a respiratory infection by restricting blood vessels and reducing the amount of mucus released.
Decongestants. These work by narrowing blood vessels to help reduce inflammation and swelling that cause sinus congestion. Such OTC medications (Sudafed, others) are available in liquids, tablets and nasal sprays.
If someone has phlegm in their throat all the time, it may occur due to a long-term condition, such as acid reflux, postnasal drip, or allergies. Overproduction of mucus also commonly occurs in people that smoke.
But if sinus drainage is blocked, glands in the sinuses continue to produce mucus, and the resulting pool of backed-up mucus provides what Dr. Metson calls "the perfect culture medium." The bacteria grow out of control, causing infection, and the immune system kicks off an inflammatory response.
Antihistamines and decongestants are both over-the-counter drugs that can relieve nasal congestion. They come in various forms, including tablets, nasal sprays, oral liquids and eye drops. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but more importantly, they work very differently and may tend to your needs differently.
Thin postnasal drip secretions caused by allergies may be treated with antihistamines. Second-generation antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Claritin may offer better relief than older-type antihistamines such as promethazine (older antihistamines tend to thicken post-nasal secretions).
Benadryl® can dry out secretions and mucous membranes. This can create problems not only in the eyes, nose and throat but throughout the rest of the body as well. Improvement in a runny nose during a cold is not due to the anti-histamine properties of the medication.
The bottom line
Zyrtec is an antihistamine, while Sudafed is a decongestant. As an antihistamine, Zyrtec can help with many allergy symptoms, while Sudafed primarily helps with nasal congestion. These medications can usually be taken together, as long as it's safe for you to take either medication alone.
Can You Take a Decongestant and Antihistamine Together? Yes, decongestants and antihistamines can be taken together. In fact, some medications already combine them to help cover more of your symptoms. These usually end in -D such as Claritin-D.
What is the strongest antihistamine over the counter?
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the strongest and most effective first-generation antihistamine, says Roberto Garcia-Ibáñez, M.D., a board-certified allergist and immunologist at The Allergi Group in Tampa, Florida. It's often administered in the emergency room to treat an allergic reaction, he adds.
If you have acute sinusitis, your symptoms likely will go away within a week to 10 days, but some people have symptoms that last up to four weeks. Chronic sinusitis symptoms last 12 weeks or more. Acute sinusitis (sinus infection) can clog your nose with mucus, make your face hurt and make you feel exhausted.
“Whether you have allergies, a sinus infection, or chronic congestion and a runny nose from the common cold, the best way to treat the ever-annoying post-nasal drip is with a prescribed nasal steroid, like Flonase.
Nuts can pose as allergen to some people, triggering allergic reactions, sometimes even worsening up sinus. You may have heard that few people have nut allergies; the histamine present in nuts is the real culprit. Nuts, such as walnut, peanut and cashew nut can cause the nasal passages to swell.
Most cases of post-nasal drip go away with time, but long-lasting, untreated post-nasal drip and excess mucus can create a breeding ground for germs, which in turn can lead to additional health complications, including sinus infections and ear infections.