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8 Real Reasons Why Antihistamines Might Not Be Working for You

Do you have a bad allergy, but antihistamines might not be working for you? See here why: 

According to statistics, more than 100 million people in the U.S. experience various types of allergies each year. Unfortunately, allergies are the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the country. The good thing is that most of them if not all, can be easily ameliorated with antihistamines. The downside is that sometimes they might not be working.

When an allergy medicine stops working, either completely or partially, it may be because your body is either eliminating the medication too rapidly or is no longer responding to it the way it previously did. We refer to this as drug tolerance.

If this happened to you too but you didn’t know what’s happening, continue reading because we will state every reason why antihistamines might not be working for you and what you can do about it:

antihistamines might not be working
Photo by Lunatta from Shutterstock

1. You might not take the meds as directed

As soon as the symptoms diminish or become less severe, a lot of people stop taking their allergy medicine, which of course is a big mistake. Mostly because those allergens are still present even if you stopped sneezing and your nose isn’t that stuffy anymore. Your allergy symptoms will return if you stop using your sprays or tablets.

According to the doctors, the best strategy to manage symptoms of seasonal allergies is to take your medicine a few weeks ahead of the allergy season. By doing this, whenever allergens decide to pop your immune system will be ready to attack.

In case the allergy medications you’ve been prescribed don’t work for you anymore talk to your doctor and see what are the alternatives for them. In most cases, allergy injections work even better than regular pills.

2. Your immune system has changed

Another surprising reason why antihistamines might not be working for you is because your immune system has probably changed. As you know, the immune system varies with age, and it won’t be as top-notch as it used to be in our twenties.

This may lead to various changes in your body and an inability to respond to various pills, in this case, the antihistamines.

3. Stress and age

You might trigger an allergic reaction and become more sensitive to allergens as you age or experience stress. This can happen if you are exposed to the same allergens every year. And all that allergy medicine that used to be effective back in the day isn’t strong enough to relieve your symptoms right now.

Therefore, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor and see their opinion. Besides changing the treatment you may also be asked to reduce your stress levels in case the allergies persist.

4. Climate changing

You may be tempted to not believe that global warming can cause issues with your allergies. Oh well! The truth is that climate change may also be the reason your allergy medicine stopped working properly.

Growing seasons have been prolonged due to warmer temperatures, and the pollen season is now longer than it was before. Allergies may get worse due to severe pollution, droughts, and other climate-related conditions.

5. Allergy drug tolerance

Many people believe their bodies have built a natural resistance to allergy medications when they stop functioning. Others believe they have developed medication resistance, as is the case with antibiotics that stop working due to bacterial mutations. But none of these speculations are correct.

According to medical personnel, an allergy medicine may lose its effectiveness due to the body developing a tolerance to the substance, particularly if it has been overused. Sometimes the medication can start working again by simply raising the dose. Nevertheless, the impact is often temporary.

Furthermore, using some nasal sprays in this way may worsen congestion—a condition called rebound congestion. (Taking a smaller dose over an extended period may also cause this.)

6. Rebound congestion

If this term is new to your ears, let us explain what it means. Certain drugs that treat symptoms of allergies, such as a stuffy nose and sneezing, are not designed to be used daily.

Oxymetazoline- and phenylephrine-containing medications, for example, should only be taken for three to four days. Rebound congestion may result from using these drugs for extended periods.

Afrin is one of those nasal sprays that can develop rebound congestion, and it’s so addictive that you will see that soon after you stop using it, your nose will still be stuffy, and you’ll want to use it again.

antihistamines might not be working
Photo by Budimir Jevtic from Shutterstock

7. New allergies

Another reason why antihistamines might not be working is because you developed new allergies you’re not aware of. As you age, you may acquire new allergies.

The medications you took to treat your prior allergies might not be as effective for your current allergy symptoms. It could be time to get updated allergy testing from your healthcare practitioner if your allergy medication isn’t working or if you’re experiencing new allergy symptoms.

How many times, when your nose started itching, have you thought that you have an allergy? A significant number of people may be unaware of their dust allergy, but improving air quality in their homes is easy with an air purifier.

Although you may not have allergies, it can still help you breathe better, sleep better, and relieve nasal congestion. On Amazon, you can find a plethora of options; it’s up to you to decide. This air purifier from Levoit costs only $49.99. 

8. Non-allergic reaction

There’s a chance you’ll encounter symptoms that seem like allergies but are actually non-allergic reactions. Antihistamines are unsuccessful since the immune system isn’t producing histamines.

Non-allergic responses can be brought on by smoking, artificial fragrances, cleaning products, colognes, perfumes, pollution, and viruses.

If you experience allergy-like symptoms unresponsive to antihistamines, consider alternative environmental causes and talk to your doctor about them.

What can you do if your allergy medicine isn’t working anymore?

  • Limit exposure

You can better control your allergies by limiting your exposure to allergens. You could reduce your allergy symptoms by avoiding peak pollen hours, using a mask, and getting rid of dust-harboring materials like carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture from your house.

As we stated earlier, an air purifier can also help you during the allergy season. You may minimize the amount of allergens in your living area by frequently dusting, vacuuming with a HEPA filter, and washing laundry twice a week.

  • Increase the dosage

You could still benefit from the medicine you are taking; you might require more. But never increase a prescription drug’s dosage without first consulting your doctor.

  • Take a break from allergy medicine

To help your body get the drug out of your system for a little while, you are taking a break from it. To avoid resistance developing again, you can resume taking it by varying its dosage with another medication.

  • Check if you have any other medical conditions

Last but not least, one of the things you can do if the allergy medicine isn’t working anymore is to check if you have any other medical issues. If you’ve been under a specific treatment for a while but your symptoms aren’t getting better or even worse, maybe you’re not allergic at all and the treatment isn’t suitable for you.

On the same page with allergies, we have another relevant article for you: 10 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Nose Congestion

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