What is an allergy?
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.
What causes allergies?
An allergy occurs when the allergen in question e.g. pollen, triggers a reaction in the body of the individual. When the allergen comes into contact with the body, the immune system believes that the specific allergen is harmful and so produces an antibody called IgE (E-class Immunoglobin) to fight it. This antibody then triggers chemicals, including one called histamine to be released from cells (called mast cells) in our skin, lungs, nose or intestine, causing the various symptoms of an allergic reaction.
The most common allergens are as follows:
What symptoms are linked with an allergy?
There are many different types of allergies and the symptoms can vary according to what the allergen is, how severe the reactions and what part of the body is involved.
Common symptoms of an allergy may include:
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 but would simply state that you try them both and see what works best for you.
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 Loratadine 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 10 mg tablet once daily.
Children aged 2 – 12 years of age are dosed by weight:
Body weight more than 30 kg: 10 mg once daily (one tablet once daily).
Loratadine tablets are not suitable for children with a body weight of less than 30 kg. For children
aged 2 years and over but weighing 30 kg or less, a syrup form of this medicine may be more
Children under 2 years of age
Loratadine is not recommended for children
under 2 years of age.
Loratadine 10mg, is the active ingredient. As well as the active ingredient, the tablets also contain Lactose, Maize starch, Pregelatinised starch 1500 and Magnesium stearate.
Before taking Loratadine – what you need to know….
Do NOT take Loratadine
If you are allergic to loratadine or any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed above).
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking this medicine if you:
Other precautions you should take
This product may prevent a response to allergens in skin allergy testing; therefore you should stop
taking this medicine at least 2 days before any such testing.
Other medicines and Loratadine
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Do not take Loratadine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.
Driving and using machines:
Loratadine contains Lactose
Patients who are intolerant to lactose should note that Loratadine tablets contain a small amount of
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 Loratadine than you should
If you (or someone else) swallow a lot of the tablets all together, or if you think a child has
swallowed any of the tablets, contact your nearest hospital casualty department or your doctor
immediately. Overdose may cause sleepiness, fast heart rate and headache. Please take this
leaflet, any remaining tablets and the container with you to the hospital or doctor so that they
know which tablets were consumed.
If you forget to take Loratadine
If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time to take the
next one. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, Loratadine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
If the following happens, stop taking Loratadine and tell your doctor immediately or go to the
casualty department at your nearest hospital:
This is a very serious but very rare side effect. You may need urgent medical attention or
hospitalisation. The following side effects have been reported at the approximate frequencies shown:
Children aged 2 to 12 years:
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
Adults and children over 12 years:
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
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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