Allergies can be a pain, but the side effects of many allergy medications can be much worse. Along with drowsiness, the most common side effect of many antihistamines, there is a wide range of other possible negatives that vary greatly depending on your body chemistry.
The antihistamines found in allergy medications that have a sedative effect may lead to impairment of cognitive function. Your senses may feel dulled, and you may feel as though you are significantly slowed down, physically and mentally. This can inhibit your driving ability, among other tasks. Kids who take this type of allergy medicine sometimes have trouble concentrating in school.
According to Dr. Javed Sheikh, MD, of Harvard Medical School, any allergy medication that has a sedative effect may also worsen depression. If you are already depressed, allergy meds can make your depression symptoms worse. If you have underlying depression symptoms, they may bring them to the surface. This class of allergy medication may also decrease sex drive.
Regarding allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine, Dr. Sheikh says that some people may experience anxiety, heart palpitations and insomnia. These effects may be especially bad for people who suffer from panic attacks.
Topical steroid creams, which are prescribed for skin allergies, may be dangerous if used long-term. They have been linked to osteoporosis, diabetes, increased risk of cataracts and even decreased growth rates in children.
Certain antihistamines may cause an increase in appetite, leading to unwanted weight gain. Additionally, some fertility specialist have speculated a connection between allergy medications and infertility in women, due to the drying of mucous membranes, although this has not been confirmed by studies.
Luckily, there are a number of natural and healthy ways to aid in allergy relief. A method that many people choose and swear by is essential oils. A number of combinations exist that may be effective.
One great combination is peppermint, lavender and lemon. Together, these oils may work to soothe the inflammation caused by allergies. Mixing a couple drops of each of these oils with a base oil, such as organic coconut oil, creates a wonderful massage mixture. Simply rub the mixture over your chest, neck, upper back and the bottoms of your feet for a cooling and soothing effect.
A drop of peppermint oil rubbed into each of your temples has been found by some to help reduce headache pain. For allergy-related skin rashes, lavender, which is very mild, can be applied directly to the skin to soothe the inflammation.
To minimize the amount of indoor allergens in your home, peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils can be used in a diffuser. This also makes your living space smell wonderful.
Eucalyptus oil, mixed with organic coconut oil, also works well as a chest, throat or foot massage. Eucalyptus is linked to the relief of the respiratory system and sinuses, and has been found by some to effectively clear a stuffy head and help asthma sufferers breathe easier.
Yet another way to get the benefit of essential oils is in an herbal steam. Add a few drops of the above-mentioned essential oils to a pot of steaming water, bring your head up close to the pot (but not too close!), and cover with a towel. Then just breathe deeply and relax for a few moments. Thyme and sage essential oils also work great in herbal steams.
Make sure that the essential oils you choose are high-quality, and as pure as possible. If your allergies are severe, talk to a natural health professional about the best course of action for your individual health.
-The Alternative Daily