When You Take Allergy Medicine Every Day, This Is What Happens

Spring is a great time of year. The weather gets warmer, the days get longer, but if you're prone to allergies, the increased dust, pollen, and everything in between can make the season unbearable. 

Antihistamines, or allergy medicines, are used to control how much histamine, a chemical made by the immune system in response to allergens, the body produces. But like a lot of medications, allergy pills come with side effects, which can include drowsiness, dry mouth, weight gain, an increased heart rate, headaches, a sore throat, and nausea. 

There can also be rare side effects when a person abruptly stops taking allergy pills after regular use. According to Sandra Lin, MD, a professor and the vice director of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at John Hopkins School of Medicine, halting pill usage can result in itchy skin and disrupted sleep (via SingleCare).

But what happens when someone takes medicine for allergies every single day for an extended period of time? Is that okay? Is it harmful? After all, 50 million Americans must put up with an array of allergens each year (via AAFA).

Antihistamines can have side effects, especially when mixed with other medications

Dr. Sandra Lin of John Hopkins School of Medicine told SingleCare that taking an antihistamine daily is usually okay. Her warning: "patients should make sure [their allergy pills] do not interact with their other medications."

David Shih, the executive vice president of strategy and former chief medical officer at CityMD, echoed Dr. Lin's sentiment, saying that since most allergy medications are available over the counter, they're generally safe for long-term use. Still, if you're taking daily ibuprofen, or medication for anxiety, or have a regular prescription, you might want to proceed with caution.  

"When you're on these medicines for such a long period of time, sometimes patients tend to forget they're on it," Shih said. "If you mix [an antihistamine] with other medication, it can certainly have greater side effects" (via The Cut).

Since allergies are the country's sixth-leading cause of chronic illness, as reported by AAFA, it is good to hear that safely and responsibly medicating the issue each day is okay to do.