Allergy Facts & Information

FAQs
  • What is an allergy?
  • Can people outgrow their allergies?
  • Can children inherit their parents' allergies?
  • How do antihistamines work?
  • Are all oral antihistamines available on the market the same?
  • Do antihistamines efficacy decline with time?
  • When to choose an antihistamine with an added decongestant?
  • Is hay fever is caused by hay?
  • Can Claritin be used to treat flower allergies?
  • Do shorthaired pets cause allergies?
  • Is there a link between climate and allergies?
  • Can pollution cause allergies?

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to allergy triggers by allergens. Common airborne allergens include pollen from trees, grasses and weeds, moulds, animal dander, dust and dust mites.

Allergies can have an impact on your daily activities. You may feel fatigued, irritable, or just not feeling well. People with allergies can have difficulties concentrating, which can affect performance and lead to absence from work or school. Many allergy sufferers may have to give away pets, or curtail their outdoor activities.

Allergic rhinitis or “hay fever” is one of the most common types of allergy. Typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy throat and headaches. Other allergic reactions can include skin itch and hives.

Can people outgrow their allergies?

Most people grow into allergies, not out of it. Although some people can have fewer symptoms from certain substances simply by avoiding them, it is nearly impossible to avoid exposure to certain pollens, moulds and dust. Repeat exposure to these allergens can prolong allergy episodes

Can children inherit their parents' allergies?

Allergies tend to run in families but other factors may come into play. A child's chances of developing allergies are about 50% if one parent has allergies and increase if both parents have allergies.

Individuals may also develop allergies even though neither parent has ever had an allergy.

How do antihistamines work?

When you are allergic to an indoor or outdoor allergen, your immune system releases a chemical substance inside your body, called histamine. Once histamine is released, it attaches to histamine receptors to trigger allergy symptoms. Antihistamines such as Claritin, blocks histamine from attaching to the histamine receptors, thereby preventing further reactions.

Are all oral antihistamines available on the market the same?

There are many different antihistamines available on the market. They are all effective in relieving allergy symptoms but differ in their side effect profile. Some are non-drowsy (second generation) while others may cause drowsiness (first generation).

Newer second-generation antihistamines, such as Claritin®, have the benefit of being non-drowsy and have a longer duration of action than first-generation antihistamines. Therefore, it is not surprising that many doctors recommend non-drowsy antihistamines for the management of allergic rhinitis.

Do antihistamines efficacy decline with time?

There is no evidence that the effectiveness of antihistamines declines with time. Claritin can be taken up to 6 months. For use beyond 6 months, please consult with your doctor.

When to choose an antihistamine with an added decongestant?

Nasal congestion is a symptom that affects many allergy sufferers.

For those who suffer from sinus and nasal congestion, it may be appropriate to treat these allegy symptoms with a product that combines a decongestant and a non-drowsy antihistamine. We recommend using a product such as Claritin® Allergy + Sinus

Is hay fever is caused by hay?

The popular term “hay fever” dates back to 1828 when a British physician noticed that his allergy symptoms worsened during the British haying season. We now know that hay itself does not cause allergies.

Can Claritin be used to treat flower allergies?

Despite what many people think, roses and many other fragrant, colourful flowers are not likely to cause allergies. However, if allergy symptoms develop, please speak to a doctor or pharmacist.

Do shorthaired pets cause allergies?

Pet allergies are not caused by fur, but by proteins found in animal dander (dead skin cells), saliva or urine; so fur length has no effect on allergies. Cats may cause more allergy problems than dogs simply because they tend to lick their fur a lot, spreading the protein allergen onto their coats.

Is there a link between climate and allergies?

In an article published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology1 the link between global climate change and increases in the prevalence and severity of allergic diseases has been highlighted.

It seems that climate change affects air quality by boosting both air pollution and pollen concentration, which can trigger an allergic response.

Warmer temperatures lead to longer pollen seasons, and increased ambient CO2 can also speeds up plants' development..

1 Shea KM et al. Clinical review in allergy and immunology: Climate change and allergic disease, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2008; 12:443-453

Can pollution cause allergies?

Although pollution is not known to cause allergic-rhinitis (allergies), it can make your existing allergy symptoms worse.