An allergy is a disorder of the immune system which, causes an exaggerated response within the body when you come into contact with a foreign substance, that would be harmless in most people. The contact can be with your skin, mouth, gullet (oesophagus), stomach, intestine or with the lining of your lungs. Substances in the environment that cause the response are known as allergens and someone who suffers a response to a particular allergen is said to be allergic to it. If you are allergic to a particular allergen you may suffer from a mild cough or a sneeze attack, but for others the symptoms can be much more severe, and can even lead to death. Almost any substance can be an allergen for someone.
Allergies are generally the body’s way of eliminating something it considers unsuitable. Allergies are responsible for many illnesses, especially in young children. If you think you have an allergy, you must contact your doctor who will help you to control the symptoms.
How many people suffer from allergies in the U.K.?
The number of people with allergies has increased dramatically over the past 20 years:
Why do people get allergies?
It is unknown exactly why people get allergies, some experts believe they could be hereditary. This is especially true for certain reactions such as, asthma, eczema and hay fever. If one or both parents have allergies there is a high chance the child will also have allergies. However, the child only inherits the likelihood of having allergies, not a particular allergy. A child is also more likely to develop allergies if exposed to passive smoking.
There has been a great amount of research done of late and many experts believe, that the increase in people developing allergies, could be due to the lifestyles many of us lead and the effect it has on our immune system. Another theory is the increased pollution from vehicle exhausts and other environmental pollutants.
How do I know if I have an allergy?
If you have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above then you may have suffered an allergic reaction, if so you should seek you doctor’s advice. If you are not sure what caused your reaction you should try to write down the following:
This will help your doctor identify the specific allergen. Finding out if you have a certain allergy and what the possible causes are, will help your doctor decide what treatment you may need or what you can do to help yourself. If you have had a severe allergic reaction you should seek medical advice immediately.
How are allergies treated?
Prevention is the key in allergy sufferers, so if you know you have an allergy to something you should make the effort to avoid or reduce contact with the specific allergen. To control allergy symptoms you should try the following tips:
Loratadine (Clarityn) vs Cetirizene (Piriteze, Zirtek) tablets
What is the difference?
Loratadine and Cetirizene are the two most common over-the counter treatments for allergies producing very similar results. They are both known as anti-histamines. They work by calming the body’s immune system to allergens. Some people react better to one type of medicine than the other (we sell them both) so we cannot suggest which is better so would simply state that you try them both and see what works best for you.
Before you take this medicine
This medicine can be taken by adults and children aged 6 years and over. However, some people should not take this medicine or should seek the advice of their pharmacist or doctor first. Please view the section on Ingredients and Precautions.
Check the foil is not broken before use. If it is, do not take that tablet.
If your doctor has prescribed this medicine, always take Cetirizene Hydrochloride 10mg tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. Otherwise follow the instructions below. You should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure. The tablets should be swallowed, preferably with a drink of water.
The usual dose is:
Adults and Children over 12 years of age
One Cetirizene Hydrochloride 10mg tablet once daily.
Children aged 6 – 12 years of age:
Half a tablet, twice a day.
Children under 6 years of age
Cetirizene Hydrochloride is not recommended for children under 6 years of age.
Cetirizene Hydrochloride 10mg, is the active ingredient. As well as the active ingredient, the tablets also contain lactose monohydrate, maize starch, pregelatinised starch, purified talc, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171) and macrogol.
Do NOT take Cetirizene Hydrochloride 10mg tablets
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Cetirizine tablets if:
No clinically significant interactions have been observed between alcohol (at the blood level of 0.5 per mille (g/l) corresponding to one glass of wine) and cetirizine used at the recommended doses. However, there are no data available on the safety when higher doses of cetirizine and alcohol are taken together. Therefore, as it is the case with all antihistamines, it is recommended to avoid taking Cetirizine with alcohol.
If you are scheduled for allergy testing, ask your doctor if you should stop taking Cetirizine for several days before testing. This medicine may affect your allergy test results.
Other medicines and Cetirizine tablets
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines.
Cetirizine tablets with food and drink
Food does not affect absorption of Cetirizine.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking this medicine.
Cetirizine should be avoided in pregnant women. Accidental use of the drug by a pregnant woman should not produce any harmful effects on the foetus. Nevertheless, the medicine should only be administered if necessary and after medical advice.
Cetirizine passes into breast milk. Therefore, you should not take Cetirizine during breast-feeding unless you have contacted a doctor.
Driving and using machines
Clinical studies have produced no evidence of impaired attention, alertness and driving capabilities after taking Cetirizine at the recommended dose.
You should closely observe your response to the drug after you have taken Cetirizine if you are intending to drive, engage in potentially hazardous activities or operate machinery. You should not exceed the recommended dose.
Cetirizine tablets contains Lactose
If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars contact your doctor before taking this medicinal product.
If you take more Cetirizene Hydrochloride 10mg tablets than you should
If you think you have taken an overdose of Cetirizine please inform your doctor. Your doctor will then decide what measures, if any, should be taken. After an overdose, the side effects described below may occur with increased intensity. Adverse effects such as confusion, diarrhoea, dizziness, tiredness, headache, ailing, dilating of pupil, itching, restlessness, sedation, somnolence, stupor, abnormal rapid heart rate, tremors and urinary retention have been reported.
If you forget to take Cetirizine tablet
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose. If you forget to take a tablet, you should take one as soon as you remember, but wait at least 24 hours before taking your next tablet.
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
The following side effects are rare or very rare, but you must stop taking the tablets and speak to your doctor straight away if you notice them:
Allergic reactions, including severe reactions and angioedema (serious allergic reaction which causes
swelling of the face or throat). These reactions may start soon after you first take the medicine, or it might start later.
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people)
Very rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people)
Not known side effects (frequency cannot be estimated from the available data)
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side
effects not listed here You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at:
By reporting side-effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this product.
If you need more advice consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
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