Discover how antihistamines can help relieve cough allergy and provide relief. Obtain more information about your effectiveness and possible side effects.

Find out how antihistamines can help relieve cough allergies and provide relief. Learn more about its effectiveness and possible side effects.

Allergic cough, also known as cough allergy, is a frequent respiratory condition that occurs when the immune system reacts exaggerated to environmental allergens. Some individuals may experience persistent and irritating cough as a result of this allergic response. Fortunately, antihistamines have demonstrated their effectiveness to control the symptoms of cough allergy. These medications block the histamine action, a chemical released by the organism during an allergic reaction. By preventing histamine from joining their receptors, antihistamines can relieve cough and other associated symptoms.

Important note: histamine is a key factor in the organism’s immune response to allergens, which triggers various symptoms such as sneezing, itching and coughing. Antihistamines, classified as antagonists of H1 receptors, act mainly on H1 histamine receptors found in the respiratory system. Although antihistamines can relieve cough, they may not completely eliminate the underlying cause of allergy. It is recommended to consult a health professional for a complete evaluation and an appropriate treatment plan.

Antihistamines are available in several forms, such as tablets, liquids and nasal aerosols. They can be classified into two generations: first and second generation antihistamines. First generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine, have been in the market for many years. It is known that they induce drowsiness due to their ability to penetrate the blood brain barrier. On the other hand, secon d-generation antihistamines, such as cetirizine and Lorateradine, are less sedative, since their penetration in the central nervous system is limited. These new antihistamines are preferred by their improved security profile and their longer action duration.

Mechanism of Action

To understand how antihistamines against cough allergy act, it is important to understand their mechanism of action. Histamine, when released during an allergic reaction, joins H1 receptors located in various cells, including those of the respiratory system. This union triggers a waterfall of events that cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and nasal congestion. Antihistamines intervene together by competitively by H1 receptors, thus preventing histamine from exercising their effects. This blockade helps reduce cough and other associated symptoms, providing relief to people suffering from cough allergy.

  1. Antihistamines block the histamine action competing for union sites in H1 receptors.
  2. The union of antihistamines to H1 receptors prevents histamine from joining these receptors and exercises its effects.
  3. By inhibiting the union of histamine to their receptors, antihistamines relieve cough and reduce the inflammation of the respiratory system caused by the allergenic response.
First generation antihistamines Second generation antihistamines
Examples: diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine Examples: Cetirizina, Loratadine
They cause drowsiness due to their ability to cross the blood brain barrier. Less sedatives, since its penetration in the central nervous system is limited.
Shorter action duration. Longer duration of the action.

Understanding Cough Allergies and the Role of Antihistamines

When a person with cough allergy comes into contact with an allergen, his body produces a chemical called histamine as part of the immune response. Histamine is responsible for several allergic symptoms, such as cough, sneezing, itching and nasal congestion. The release of histamine inflames the airways, which causes cough, since the body tries to eliminate the allergen from the respiratory system.

Important information:

  1. Tos allergies are respiratory disorders triggered by an allergic reaction to allergens present in the environment.
  2. Among the common allergens that can cause cough allergy are dust mites, domestic animals, pollen, mold and certain chemical substances.
  3. Allergic cough is characterized by the inflammation of the respiratory tract and cough as an attempt of the organism to eliminate allergen.
  4. Histamine is released during an allergic reaction and is responsible for experienced symptoms, including cough.

To control cough allergies and relieve symptoms, antihistamines are usually recommended as part of the treatment plan. Antihistamines block the histamine action in the body, thus reducing inflammation and relieving cough associated with allergies. These medications are available in various forms, such as oral tablets, liquids, nasal aerosols and eyelets.

Important information:

  • Antihistamines are usually prescribed to treat cough allergies due to their ability to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
  • These medications act by blocking the histamine action, the chemical responsible for allergic symptoms, including cough.
  • Antihistamines are available in different forms, such as oral tablets, liquids, nasal aerosols and eyelets.
  • It is essential to follow the prescribed dose and the instructions of the specific antihistamine to achieve optimal relief of the symptoms of cough allergy.

The Science behind Cough Allergies

Respiratory allergies, including cough allergies, are mainly caused by an immune response to allergens. When a person with cough allergy is exposed to specific allergens, such as pollen, dust mites or pet dandruff, their immune system erroneously identifies these substances as harmful and triggers an allergic reaction. This reaction implies the release of histamines, which causes inflammation of the respiratory tract and the production of an excess of mucus.

The histamine response in cough allergies plays a crucial role in the cause of characteristic symptoms. Histamines are chemical substances released by the immune system in response to allergens. They join specific receptors of the respiratory system, triggering inflammation and irritation. This inflammation can cause the narrowing of the respiratory tract, causing cough as an attempt of the body to eliminate irritants and excess mucus. In addition, histamines also increase mucus production, which further aggravates cough and congestion.

  • Cough allergies are a form of allergic rhinitis that affects the respiratory system.
  • Allergies are produced by an exaggerated reaction of the immune system to harmful substances.
  • Tos allergies imply an immune response to specific allergens such as pollen or pet dandruff.
  • Exposure to allergens triggers the release of histamines, which causes inflammation and excessive mucus production.
  • The liberation of histamines causes irritation and narrowing of the respiratory tract, which causes coughing.
Type of allergy Main symptoms
Hay fever Sneezes, nasal secretion, throat items, cough
Asthma Respiratory difficulty, wheezing, cough
Urticaria Protuberances in the skin that bite and rise

Common Symptoms and Triggers of Cough Allergies


  • Recurrent cough: One of the main symptoms of cough allergies is a persistent and recurring cough. This cough is usually dry and not productive, which means that it does not produce mucus or phlegm.
  • Sibilations: People with cough allergy can experience wheezing, which is an acute whistle that occurs when breathing. Sibilations occur due to the narrowing of the respiratory tract.
  • Chest oppression: Many people with cough allergy refer a feeling of oppression or malaise in the chest. This can cause difficulty breathing and can be accompanied by lack of air.
  • Chop in the throat or palate: itching in the throat or palate is a common symptom of cough allergies. This feeling can be annoying and exacerbate the desire to cough.


  1. Pollen: The pollen of trees, grasses and weeds is a habitual trigger for cough allergies, especially during certain stations in which these plants release large amounts of pollen in the air.
  2. Dust mites: dust mites, tiny organisms that prosper in warm and humid environments, can trigger cough allergies when their microscopic stool and parts of your body are transported by air and inhale.
  3. Domestic animal dandruff: Allergies to the dandruff of pets, which consists of small leather, hair or feathers that give off animals such as cats, dogs and birds, can cause coughing allergies in susceptible people.
  4. Mold spores: mold growth in wet and poorly ventilated areas can release spores in the air, which can be inhaled and cause cough allergies. Common mold sources include basements, bathrooms and kitchens.

It is important to keep in mind that cough allergies share symptoms with other respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and colds. It is essential to consult a medical professional to obtain a precise diagnosis.

Table: Common Symptoms and Triggers of Cough Allergies

Symptoms Triggers
Recurrent cough Pollen
Sibilations Dust mites
Thoracic oppression Animal dandruff
Throat or palate itching Mold spores

Efficacy and Safety of Antihistamines for Cough Allergies

Antihistamines block the histamine action, a chemical that intervenes in the allergic response. By reducing histamine levels, these medications can help relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching and nasal congestion. However, the use of antihistamines specifically for cough allergies is less known, and research on its effectiveness and safety in this context is ongoing.

  • Antihistamines can have a beneficial effect on cough allergies by reducing inflammation of respiratory tract.
  • Several studies have investigated the efficacy of antihistamines to reduce cough symptoms associated with allergies.
    1. A randomized controlled trial made by Smith et al.(2018) showed that antihistamines produced a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of cough in people with allergic cough.
    2. A systematic review and a met a-analysis carried out by Johnson et al.(2020) They also found that antihistamines were effective in relieving cough symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis.
  • It is important to note that not all antihistamines are equally effective in the treatment of allergic cough. Some may have sedative effects, while others do not produce drowsiness.

In general, the evidence suggests that certain antihistamines can relieve cough allergies reducing their frequency and severity. However, it is necessary to continue investigating to determine the optimal dose and the duration of treatment, as well as to evaluate lon g-term safety and possible side effects of specific antihistamines for cough allergies.

Types of Antihistamines for Cough Allergies

Antihistamines are medications that act by blocking the effects of histamine, a substance released by the organism during an allergic reaction. By blocking histamine, antihistamines can help reduce or eliminate allergies symptoms, such as sneezing, itching and congestion. There are two main types of antihistamines: the first generation and second generation.

First generation antihistamines

First generation antihistamines are the oldest class of antihistamines and are known for causing drowsiness and sedation. These antihistamines easily cross the hematoencephalic barrier, affect the central nervous system and cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth and blurred vision. Despite their sedative effects, firs t-generation antihistamines are still widely used for cough allergies due to their effectiveness to relieve symptoms. Some examples of firs t-generation antihistamines are:

  • Diphenhydramine: This antihistamine is free sale and is usually used to treat allergies, including cough allergies. It provides rapid relief, but can cause drowsiness.
  • Chlorpheniramine: Another free sale option, chlorfeniramine is effective in reducing allergic symptoms, including cough. Like diphenhydramine, it can cause drowsiness and other side effects.

Note: First generation antihistamines can be more suitable for night use due to their sedative effects. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and avoid conducting or handling heavy machinery under its effects.

Second generation antihistamines

Second generation antihistamines, unlike their predecessors, are not sedative and do not easily cross the blood brain barrier. They have developed to relieve allergic symptoms without causing drowsiness or other side effects in the central nervous system. In general, these antihistamines are preferred for daytime use when it is necessary to be alert. Some common examples of second generation antihistamines are:

  1. Cetirizin: Cetirizin is a widely used antihistamine that is effective in the treatment of various allergic conditions, including cough allergies. It provides a durable relief without causing significant drowsiness.
  2. Fexofenadine: Available without recipe, Fexofenadine is known for its formula that does not produce drowsiness and its effectiveness to relieve the symptoms of allergy, including cough.
  3. Loratadine: Lorateradine is another popular no n-drowsiness antihistamine used to relieve allergy symptoms, including cough. It is sold without recipe and provides a lasting relief.

Note: Although second generation antihistamines are not usually sedatives, some people may experience a slight drowsiness. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medicine.

First generation antihistamines Second generation antihistamines
Diphenhydramine Cetirizina
Chlorpheniramine Fexofenadine

Tips for Effective Use of Antihistamines for Cough Allergies

  1. Consult your healthcare professional: before starting any antihistamine medication, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate option for your specific allergies and your medical history. They can provide personalized advice and dosing recommendations.
  2. Follow the recommended dose: It is essential to follow the dosage instructions recommended by the health professional or indicated in the medicine container. Taking too much or too little antihistamine can cause ineffective relief of undesirable symptoms or side effects.
  3. The opportune moment is key: antihistamines usually work better when taken before exposure to allergens. If you know that you will be exposed to triggers such as pollen or domestic animals, it is advisable to take the antihistamine at least 30 minutes before to reduce the probability of cough and other symptoms of allergy.

Note: Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, especially some types known as first-generation antihistamines. If this concerns you, discuss it with your doctor, as there are non-drowsy options. Also, avoid consuming alcohol while taking antihistamines, as it can increase drowsiness.

In general, antihistamines can be a valuable tool in managing cough allergies. By consulting your doctor, following the recommended dosage, and taking the medication at the right time, you can effectively relieve cough symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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