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Had an episode of pneumonia. Is it safe to take antihistamines daily for eczema?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 2015 Questions

I have 2 concerns:

1. We give her antihistamines almost everyday to control her itching (Allegra, 10ml, twice a day and at night Zyrtec, 5 ml). I wish to know whether they can have any side effects in the long run/ whether it is safe to give them everyday if required.
2. She recently had an episode of Pneumonia. I have have heard that children with eczema can develop respiratory disorders later in life, this is frightening. Can you please explain the linkage?
Thanks & best regards,
Posted Sun, 10 Feb 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 55 minutes later
Thanks for writing to us.
From the description you have given it seems, she is having atopic eczema.
Such children usually present with dry skin areas over face around eyes, forearms, legs( flexural aspect) abdomen, buttocks. In this eczema, there is usually a history of asthma or allergic rhinitis in family or the child itself.

I would like to address your concerns first

1) to control itching in eczema, antihistaminics are practically safe even if given for prolonged period.
However this itching in eczema could be reduced with proper hydration of skin.
So I would suggest, you use cetaphil cleansing lotion for bathing and use cetaphil moisturising lotion twice in a day to keep the skin hydrated.
Use very mild water to bathe and you may also add few drops of coconut oil or olive oil to the water for better hydration. Always dab the towel to dry her skin and apply moisturiser immediately.
Once you feel that her skin has improved, start giving Allegra once only. Later on you may stop Allegra altogether, however the night dose of antihistaminic needs to be continued as children usually complaint of severe itch in night.
In winters however as the skin tends to dry more, you might need to give antihistaminic in morning too.

Steroids are usually required for flare up only. Once the phase is over, sometimes we advise once in a week application of steroids over the eczema prone areas to avoid further exacerbation.

2) there are chances of developing asthma etc in later life but it is seen in fewer cases only. The linkage is genetic.
I would like to emphasise that as much as you hydrate your child's skin, lesser would be the chances of flare ups.
Incidentally my thesis in MD dealt with atopic eczema in young children only.

Hope I have answered your queries. Should there be any other doubt, I would be happy to assist you
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had an episode of pneumonia. Is it safe to take antihistamines daily for eczema? 31 minutes later
I will begin using cetaphil cleansing lotion for bathing and also the drops of oil in her bathing water.

I forgot to mention that I use Venusia/Liquid parafin/Cetaphil moisturising cream whichever suits her at a particular point in time. When she has flareups she does not tolerate venusia, only liquid parafin does not burn her skin.

Thank you very much, I am sure your suggestions will be of great help.

Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 55 minutes later
Cetaphil is a bland moisturising lotion that usually doesn't irritate skin. However, still we have to go by child's comfort. So liquid paraffin can be used as and when required.

Atopic eczema usually resolves with age, occasionally presenting itself as minor flare ups . So do not worry, keep her skin well hydrated to prevent itch and flare ups. Atopic eczema is also known as the itch that rashes. So lesser is itching, lesser are the chances of flare ups.

Wishing your child a speedy recovery. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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