Affecting 29% of the UK population, hay fever is typically a seasonal allergy. Known medically as allergic rhinitis, the condition occurs when the immune system fires chemicals calls histamines, which result in inflammation of the nasal passages. This immune response also causes the indicative hay fever symptoms like sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing from your nose, itchy, watery eyes and a general feeling of lethargy.
One common treatment for hay fever is Cetirizine, a non- drowsy antihistamine which is commonly sold under the brand names Zirtek, Piriteze and Benadryl Allergy. It is available in the form of tablets, capsules and syrups. Cetirizine can help relieve hay fever symptoms, but it cannot prevent them from occurring in the first place.
For many, Cetirizine is only taken when the pollen count is high and not every day. But this can make it difficult to determine how often you should take Cetirizine. Read on to find out how much you should take as well as other helpful tips on taking Cetirizine for hay fever.
How many Cetirizine you can take in a day is dependent on factors such as your age and severity of symptoms. The dosage usually differs for adults and children. Normally, if you are younger than 65 years, you may be good to go with one tablet a day (with the maximum dose being 10 mg per day). However, if you are over 65 years of age or suffer from any kidney problems, then your daily dose of Cetirizine would usually be lower, around 5 mg per day.
You can take Cetirizine regularly to keep your symptoms at bay, especially in spring and summer when the pollen count is high. However, it’s important to always follow your doctor’s instruction or check the label for information on how much Cetirizine you should take.
You should avoid accidentally taking more Cetirizine if your symptoms persist. If you find that Cetirizine does not effectively relieve your symptoms, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist for advice.
Cetirizine can be taken with or without food, but you should always swallow them whole with a drink. You should never try to chew them.
If you forget to take Cetirizine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it nearly time for your next dose, you should refrain from doing so. You should never take a double dose in order to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you accidentally take more Cetirizine than you should, it is unlikely to cause any serious harm to you. However, it may put you at an increased risk of experiencing side effects, such as nausea, drowsiness, headaches, stomach aches, feeing agitated or nervous. If you experience any side effects and you feel concerned, you should speak to your doctor. If your side effects persist or become gradually worse, you should seek emergency medical attention by going straight to your nearest accident and emergency department.
However, if you feel that the usual dosage of Cetirizine is not working out for you and you deliberately try to overdose in the hopes of relieving hay fever symptoms, you should immediately discontinue with this practice. You can explore other hay fever treatments alongside your regular dose of Cetirizine.
Taking Cetirizine together with other antihistamines such as fexofenadine and loratadine is generally not recommended and can increase the chances of side effects. However, your doctor may recommend a sedating antihistamine to help you sleep at night.
Cetirizine has fewer side effects than other hay fever medicines. Common side effects of taking Cetirizine may include tiredness, dizziness, abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, dry mouth and diarrhoea.
Do not take Cetirizine if you are allergic to peanuts or soya.
You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking Cetirizine as it can increase the risk of making you feel drowsy, dizzy or nauseous.
It is important to tell your doctor about your medical history before taking Cetirizine. You should tell your doctor if you use other medicines, especially sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants or other cold or allergy medications. They can add to the drowsiness caused by Cetirizine. Also, you should not take Cetirizine without informing your doctor if you are breast feeding, since small amounts of Cetirizine can pass into the mother’s breast milk and prove harmful to the nursing baby.