What Allergy Medicine Can I Take While Breastfeeding?
Unlike a cold, not everyone suffers from allergies. And of the people that do suffer, the symptoms can be long ranging from slight watering of the eyes to terrible sinus infections. In a lot of ways, suffering from the effects of an allergy attack can be even more debilitating than those of a cold or flu.
If you’re breastfeeding while suffering from allergies, you may be concerned about what things you can and can’t take to help ease your symptoms. Unlike the rest of us, you can’t simply go to the store and grab something to take, not everything may be safe. That’s what we’ll be looking at today and hopefully this will be helpful in sorting things out for you. We’re going to look at;
What Are Allergens? What Ways Do Our Bodies React To Them?
An allergen can be almost anything that the body reacts to negatively. They can be food borne allergens, what happens when we eats something that our bodies react badly to. Or they can be environmental allergens that are caused by plants and insects such as bees and wasps.
For our purposes here today, we’ll be discussing the most types of allergens, environmental ones. Environmental allergens are anything that we come into contact with through interacting with our natural environments. Things that touch us, or things that we breathe in from the air around us.
The most common allergen types are pet dander, pollen and dust. The reactions to different allergens can vary in symptom and degree, it really depends on how sensitive the affected person is to the particular allergen they come in contact with. The severity can range from sneezing and coughing to skin rashes and anaphylaxis.
When we come in contact with something we’re allergic to, the body’s immune system has defenses that spring into action in order to try and expel, or kick out, this parasitic invader. Our immune system produces a chemical called histamines to counteract foreign bodies. These histamines are what trigger your allergic reaction and creates the symptoms you experience.
Some of the reactions that can happen are;
If Breastfeeding What Can You Do And What Can You Use?
There are many natural remedies that you can use that will help to alleviate the symptoms of an allergy attack. Fortunately there are quite a few over the counter medications for allergies that are completely safe for breastfeeding mums to take so that your entire spring season isn’t missed. These are perfectly safe for baby as well.
Creams and Lotions?
All nasal sprays are applied directly to the nasal passages. It’s considered safer because of that form of application and relatively little has a chance to be absorbed into the bloodstream. There are four forms of nasal sprays available on the market. Saline, antihistamine, topical and corticosteroids.
Eye drops like nasal sprays come in a few different varieties. Your eye symptoms, all the watering and itching, are usually tied to the issues that you’re having with your nasal passages as they’re both a part of the ENT system. Often times the medication that you use to treat your nasal allergies will alleviate the eye symptoms. When they don’t eye drops are a good option.
Antihistamines are probably the best way to treat an allergy attack, because it goes directly to the cause of the reaction, the production of histamines by the body. But what if you’re someone that doesn’t care to use either a nasal spray or eye drops to treat your symptoms? Well, there are orals that you can take that are easily found at your local pharmacy.
With antihistamines you usually have a choice of non sedating or sedating. Both are considered safe for breastfeeding mums. But you may prefer to use the non sedating types such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec to ensure that you’re alert for your little one. Both forms of antihistamine have not shown to affect milk production nor have adverse effects on baby.
Are There Medications That Should Be Avoided?
As with taking any form of medicine when breastfeeding, there are some that should be avoided if at all possible. The major concern when breastfeeding is making sure that whatever you take doesn’t easily cross in breast milk and affect the health and safety of your baby.
Oral decongestants such as Sudafed should be avoided if possible, as it contains Pseudoephedrine which when taken orally can reduce milk supply. Antihistamine and decongestant combinations such as Dimetapp and Contac while also posing a risk of decrease milk supply, will also have a sedating effect and can cross into breast milk affecting your baby.
Decongestants that contain phenylephrine and phenylpropanolamine both drugs that are similar to pseudoephedrine, should be avoided by lactating mothers for the same reason that it can contribute to a decrease in milk production although it hasn’t been found to have an effect on infants.
The ingredient guaifenesin which is found in many expectorants such as Mucinex and Robitussin is thought to cause a decrease in breast milk production. Though you may be tempted to use a throat spray to relieve the ach caused by coughing and or sinus drainage, you should avoid one with large quantities of menthol as that will decrease breast milk as well.
As with anything before you start any medication while lactating, you should speak with your physician or pharmacist first. Barring that there are some questions you should as and a few good rules of thumb to follow when deciding on medications;
Hopefully this article was helpful in helping to answer whatever questions you had about what allergy medications are safe to take when breastfeeding. Maybe you’ve learned something today that you didn’t know before. As usual please pass along what you’ve learned and don’t forget to always consult your physician when think of taking any new medication.