What Are Histamines?
When you visit the medicine aisles of your local pharmacy, you may see boxes of what are called anti-histamines. These are usually sold along with cold pills and as allergy relief, but do you know what histamines are and why some would need an anti-histamine medication? It’s important to understand this because you never want to take a medication that your body doesn’t need.
Not only could you be doing harm to your system, you may be wasting money trying to treat symptoms of one condition by using medication that is designed to treat a different condition entirely.
Histamines are actually very healthy for the body; they are organic compounds that trigger the inflammatory response in the body’s immune system. Histamines are used to fight off pathogens or irritants in the system, keeping it healthy and strong.
Some persons have an exaggerated immune system and inflammatory response, triggering an allergic reaction to natural compounds such as pollen or dust mites. This allergic reaction is commonly called hay fever. When in contact with these substances, their mucus membranes overreact, resulting in a runny nose and watery eyes. Their body’s sensitivity to these natural histamines that are supposed to help them may make them sneeze, a natural reaction to foreign substances in the mucus membranes and sinus cavities.
An anti-histamine medication will help to regulate this response in the body. The histamines are controlled and not caused to react when in contact with these irritants. This can relieve a person of their watery eyes and running nose and keep them from sneezing as well.
Using an anti-histamine for a common cold or the flu or other condition is pointless; you may have a runny nose and watery eyes when you have a cold, but not due to the histamines in your system. These reactions are due to the body trying to remove the cold germs from your system by increasing production of mucus and tears. The body removes irritants through mucus in the nose and through tears, which is why you have these reactions when you have a cold.
Taking a medication that is meant to block the histamine reaction in your body when it’s not histamines causing these reactions wastes your money, and it may also interfere with the body’s natural abilities to create and regulate histamines when they are needed. If the body is constantly taught to block histamines then it may not be able to produce them naturally and as necessary. This can produce a weakened immune response.
If you have consistent watery eyes and runny nose during allergy season, it’s good to see an allergist to find out your particular triggers and to ensure you are actually having an allergic response. He or she can then advise you the best medication to take for your condition and to ensure your health.