Antihistamine and Snoring: Could Your Allergy Medication Put an End to Snoring?
The pleasure that we get from smelling fresh flowers, cuddling a furry pet, eating seafood and tidying the house, can be a disaster for other people due to allergies.
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Allergies are the body’s reactions to potentially harmful substances in the environment. Our immune system’s role is to defend the body from elements such as bacteria and viruses, and when it overreacts, that causes allergies. Symptoms of allergic reactions vary from sneezing, coughing, swelling, rashes, nausea and vomiting.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), an estimate of 40 to 50 million people are affected by allergies. Anything that causes an allergic reaction such as dust, pollen, pet dander, molds, certain medicines and certain food are called allergens.
Some allergies can be debilitating, some seem to be like a normal part of our lives. Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common allergies.
It affects between 10-30% of the worldwide population according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Allergic rhinitis is caused by airborne particles like pollen, molds, dust, pet dander, insect droppings, etc. It causes nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, post-nasal drip, clogged nose and impaired breathing. Allergic rhinitis is usually seasonal but some people experience it all year-round and it can get in the way of the quality of life.
One of the most common effects of allergies is poor sleep. Nasal irritation and congestion can lead to snoring and the longer you have allergies, the longer you might have to experience poor sleep due to this.
What is snoring?
Snoring is considered as an indicator of breathing difficulty during sleep. Snoring produces vibrations and loud breathing sounds as a result of narrowed airway due to the relaxation of the tongue and throat muscles. Among the most common causes of snoring are:
- Nasal congestion
Nasal and throat irritation caused by allergic rhinitis and other types of allergies can contribute to snoring as it makes breathing more difficult. Common colds, flu, asthma and cough can also contribute to snoring caused by nasal congestion.
- Nose and throat abnormalities
The nose and mouth are both connected to the throat, any obstruction can lead to difficulty in breathing. Some people who suffer from nasal polyps, crooked septum or the division between the two nostrils, enlarged tonsils, a goiter and other nose and throat conditions can suffer from snoring.
- Sleeping position
Sleeping on your back may be the most comfortable but it is the position that makes snoring more prevalent that when you lie on your side. Lying on your side will keep your tongue away from obstructing your airway.
Muscles tend to lose it tone as you age, and it can make the tongue and upper airway more relaxed. This is why older people snore more.
- Smoking and Drinking
Aside from the known side effects of smoking and drinking to our health, it can also make you snore. Smoking constricts the air passages in your lungs and make the throat rough while alcohol, a known downer, can make the tongue and throat muscles more relaxed.
Antihistamine: Anti-allergy medications
Allergies and snoring can be a double whammy for a person suffering both. The quality of life and sleep are both compromised by these conditions. People suffering from snoring are in constant search for aids for their condition, while people with allergies can instantly benefit from anti-allergy medications that can be purchased from drugstores.
Having allergies make the body produce histamine, a substance that causes allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, itching and more. To counter these symptoms and cause relief, antihistamines were made available.
Antihistamines come in different formulations, generic and brand names. Antihistamines have two categories, the first generation and the second generation. The first generation brands have sedating effects and can make you drowsy. It works faster but only lasts for 4 hours and will need a frequent intake. The second generation antihistamines provide relief for up to 8 hours with a decreased drowsiness compared to the first generation.
First generation antihistamines are:
Second generation antihistamines are:
Antihistamines and Snoring
Antihistamines help relieve snoring by drying up the nasal passages and decongesting it so you can breathe normally. Since nasal congestion is among the causes of snoring, many people rely on antihistamines to sleep better at night. One of the go-to medications is Claritin, a second-generation antihistamine with the active ingredient, Loratadine. Many people believe that Claritin helped with their snoring but there are no clinical studies to prove this, yet. It might be just a coincidence that snoring symptoms are relieved after taking it.
While others claim that antihistamines like Claritin helped them, an analysis conducted by eHealthMe.com proves otherwise. They had 42,621 respondents saying that they have experienced side effects taking Claritin including 58 people saying that they experienced snoring. Among the respondents who experienced snoring while taking Claritin are 76.92% female and 23.08% male. The results of the analysis also show that snoring percentage gets higher as people get older.
Other conditions that may have contributed to snoring while taking Claritin are:
- Breast Cancer
Any remedy for snoring can give people high hopes. This only proves how important quiet and uninterrupted sleep is. Antihistamines can address nasal congestion that causes snoring but its sedative effect can also be causing people to snore. Always stick to what the medication’s purpose is and avoid drug misuse.
Quality sleep and the quality of life
Sleep is among the basic physiological needs of human beings. And the fulfillment of this need can also help us achieve the rest of our goals to satisfy our psychological (intimate relationships, friends, prestige, feeling of accomplishment) and self-fulfillment (achieving one’s potential and dreams) needs.
Quality sleep can determine the quality of life that we have. And among the factors that interfere with quality sleep is snoring. Snoring can be a bad precedent to our next morning and constant snoring can lead to more serious physical and emotional problems. It does not only affect the health of the snorer but effects of interrupted sleep can also put the sleeping partner and other family members at risk.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can both result to and from snoring. OSA’s symptoms include snoring but prolonged snoring from other causes can also lead to this. OSA is a sleep disorder resulting to a brief but repeated interruption of breathing during sleep and studies show that allergic rhinitis has also been linked to it. Don’t fret because you can put an end to snoring caused by allergic rhinitis with these easy steps:
- Keep your room clean
Your room is not yours alone. It is also a breeding ground for dust, dust mites, bacteria and viruses harbored in your bed linens, pillows and curtains. Replace your bed sheets and pillowcases once a week and your curtains every two weeks to avoid accumulation of dust. When cleaning your room, wear a mask and use a vacuum cleaner instead of dusting it off with a cloth, feather duster and broom.
- Make way for fresh air
Let sunlight and fresh air get into your room. Sunlight naturally kills bacteria and viruses and proper air circulation gets rid of too much moisture or dryness in the air.
- Avoid smoking
Smoking can make your throat dry and your nasal and lung passages constricted. The direct inhalation of smoke can cause frequent allergies aside from the long-term effects.
- Avoid potential food allergens
Food allergies can cause inflammation and enlarge blood vessels. Eating seafood, peanuts and dairy can cause allergic reactions to some people instantly, while some might show signs eventually. Knowing what your food allergies are can help you avoid congestion and much worse effects like choking.
- Get hydrated
Dehydration can lead to thickening mucus in the nose, throat and mouth. Drinking more than 10 glasses of water especially when you feel sick can loosen up mucus and help you breathe easier.
- Use nasal sprays
If you think oral antihistamines cause you drowsiness and snoring, try using nasal sprays. Although the use of nasal sprays is not recommended for prolonged use, you can do your own nasal spray with water and sea salt.
- Build your immune system
With the right amount of nutrients from healthy food, our body can ward off any illness, including allergies. Get your daily dose of Vitamin C from citrus fruits and leafy greens and Vitamin D from fatty fish and sunlight to boost your immunity and help you sleep better.
- Get some vitamin sea
The cool and moist air from the ocean proved to relieve respiratory illnesses. The ocean is probably a place with the least air pollution and this is much better than you DIY nasal salt spray.
- Consult your doctor
Your doctor is the best person to check the cause of your snoring. If you think your soring is caused by something more than nasal congestion, talk to your doctor for other possible anti-snoring solution.
- Use anti-snoring devices that aid nasal congestion
There is plenty of anti-snoring aids in the market but not all of them are created equal. Find one that offers a solution to all possible causes of snoring. Check out ZenSleep and see how its all-in-one anti-snoring kit is a cut above the rest.
Allergic rhinitis and other allergies can make a person snore or can worsen snoring for others. Antihistamine relieves nasal congestion and inflammation of nasal passages thus making a person breathe easier. This effect has been associated with snoring and how it helps relieve it but there are no studies confirming it yet.
It is always best to stick with the medicine’s purpose and avoid self-medicating for snoring. There are plenty of ways to help you combat both allergies and allergy-caused snoring, just try each one or a combination and see how what works best for you.