Zyrtec is an over-the-counter antihistamine with cetirizine as its main ingredient. Cetirizine is a second-generation antihistamine that helps in alleviating allergic symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, etc.
It is also used to treat allergic reactions like itching and swelling caused by chronic urticaria or hives, seasonal allergic rhinitis, perennial allergic rhinitis, chronic idiopathic urticaria, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, etc.
Is Zyrtec Contain Any Side Effects?
Cetirizine is a widely used drug in different parts of the world and it is considered to be a drug with side effects that can impair your thinking and reactions because of its sedative effects.
Because of this, doctors mostly advise patients not to drive or do activities that require constant attention as cetirizine causes drowsiness (even though it’s credited as a non-sedating antihistamine).
Antihistamines like cetirizine have a high tendency to make people drowsy and this in turn can lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood glucose levels in the body drop down to low levels causing confusion, heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, etc. If left untreated this can further lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, etc.
Hyperglycemia is an opposite condition where the blood glucose levels increase causing symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, feeling tired, etc. These symptoms might manifest slower than the symptoms experienced in hypoglycemia.
According to a study done in 2000 (Effect of a few histamine1-antagonists on blood glucose in patients of allergic rhinitis), antihistamine medications like cetirizine are found to increase postprandial blood glucose and also fasting blood glucose. Seasonal allergies are a cause of concern, especially for diabetic patients as the medications used to treat allergies like cetirizine seem to interact negatively with blood glucose levels causing a significant increase in their levels.
Do Diabetics Have To Avoid Taking Zyrtec?
Diabetes can change the immune functions of the body and create reactions to allergy symptoms and medications. Even on a normal day, maintaining ideal blood sugar levels together with getting enough sleep, having medications on time, or taking insulin shots along with recommended exercise can be challenging.
So what happens on days when we aren’t really feeling well and are susceptible to seasonal allergies? This scenario can be tough for even people who aren’t diabetic.
Springtime is the most common season for seasonal allergies. Trees release pollen during this time of the year and then it is soon followed by summer grasses, rye, and weeds creating allergies leading to conditions like hay fever. Allergens can be more obtrusive and difficult for diabetic individuals.
There are contradicting anecdotes of diabetic patients where one section doesn’t find any changes in their blood sugar levels while having hay fever or such allergic symptoms and then there is another section of people whose blood sugar readings are off the charts when they are having an allergy attack.
Food allergy medications can also interact with diabetic management as Zyrtec is one of the drugs used to treat conditions like Hives, mild hand, lip, or eye swelling, diarrhea, etc.
A diabetic patient should always be sensitive about medications used for other conditions as these can interact with the diabetic medicines and the overall management of Diabetics.
Tips To Follow While Taking Allergy Medications
Here are some helpful tips to follow when you take allergy medications
- Identify your allergy triggers and this will help you differentiate and track these allergens.
- Monitor your blood glucose frequently when you are taking any sort of allergy medication like Zyrtec.
- Talk to your healthcare specialist before starting any sort of allergy medication.
- Diabetic patients with Asthma should consult their healthcare specialist and be informed about the necessary precautions to be taken during seasonal allergies.
- Ask your healthcare specialist about the dosage of insulin while taking allergy medications.
- Always remember to read the label of your medications as they have crucial information regarding the possible side effects and steps to take after consuming the medicine.
- Remember to take your allergy medication before the advent of peak seasonal allergy timings so that the symptoms can be managed early on.
- Pay attention to local allergen reports which include data on mold, pollens, and breathing index.
- Use weather apps on your smartphone or contact local weather stations to get timely reports on the forecasted allergy index.
- Shift your exercise routine indoors during allergy season.
- Take a shower whenever you come from outside to remove traces of any pollen from your skin or hair.
- Add more probiotics to your diet like yogurt, sour pickles, kombucha, etc. Probiotics like Lactobacillus GG and L.Gasseri are believed to be resistant to allergic rhinitis
- Keep your windows closed and your home hygienic so that the pollens and other allergens don’t enter your home during the allergy seasons.
- Vacuum your basement and home often and use a dehumidifier in the basement (as they tend to get damp) to control the growth of mold.
- Always remember to wear a mask while venturing outside as this will help a lot in keeping away the allergens.
Diabetic management is all about a controlled lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise, and timely medication. Seasonal allergies and flu can interact with this management and can in turn cause alterations in your blood sugar levels.
So it is always important to seek proper and clear advice from your healthcare specialist regarding the medications for allergies and if they are seen to cause negative changes in the diabetic levels then it should be informed to the doctor at the earliest.