What do experts have to say?
Dr. Michael Richheimer, an allergist at an Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Clinic in Long Beach, N.Y., said in a telephone interview "If I was to tell a patient to avoid the cold, I would sound crazy."
He recommends an over-the-counter antihistamine, like Benedryl, to be taken 30 minutes prior to any cold exposure.
However, other physicians' disagree with Dr. Richheimer's treatment.
They argue that over-the-counter antihistamines interfere with learning and recommend a nonsedating prescription drug, like loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec).6
According to DermNetMZ.org, "Non-sedating antihistamines (loratidine, fexofenadine, terfenadine, cetirazine and astemizole) are less likely to cause drowsiness than the less expensive conventional antihistamines. They may be unsuitable in pregnancy.
Terfenadine and astemizole may increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. They should be avoided if you have heart disease or you are also taking erythromycin, ketoconazole and some other medications. Fexofenadine, loratidine, desloratidine and cetirazine are safe."2
Jessica Poris, who has been allergic to the cold for nearly 10 years, has been taking Benedryl. She said she is a diligent student and does well in her classes. However, she will not disclose her GPA, Grade Point Average.
How to prepare for the "inevitable cold"
In the winter wear:
- layers of socks
- thick pants and shirts
In the summer:
- Be wary of cold drinks.
- Take very small sips to prevent irritation around your lips.
- Wear some form of protection, a glove or napkins, while holding something cold like drinks or ice cream cones.
- Ask your physician about swimming in cool pools
In the spring and fall:
- Hopefully, you do not have spring allergies, too.
- In the spring, remember to bring an umbrella. (April showers shouldn't be a surprise.)
- In the fall be wary of a cool breezes triggering hives on your face, neck and hands.
© 2005 Randi N. Bernfeld