Hives (known medically as uticaria) are red, raised welts on the skin. They are usually very itchy. Hives are commonly caused by allergies, although other factors (such as stress) can also cause them. Many people get hives chronically (on a regular basis) without finding any cause. Hives usually respond well to antihistamine treatment, although many of the available antihistamines cause drowsiness. As with allergies, Claritin is effective for treating the itching due to hives without usually causing drowsiness.
How Does Claritin Work?
Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances that do not bother most people. This reaction is partly caused by the release of histamine from certain cells in the body. Claritin is an antihistamine, which means that it blocks histamine from binding to histamine receptors and causing allergy symptoms. Since histamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of allergies, blocking it can be helpful.
Lots of people get nasal congestion due to allergies. However, antihistamines don't help with this particular allergy symptom (since congestion isn't caused by histamine). In order to treat congestion, it is necessary to add a nasal decongestant (such as pseudoephedrine). Claritin comes in a combination product that contains pseudoephedrin (Claritin-D), just for this purpose.
Histamine is also responsible for the formation of hives (whether they are caused by allergies or not). Claritin works to alleviate this itching by blocking histamine.
Claritin Uses in Children
Claritin syrup and chewable tablets are approved for use in children as young as two years old. Claritin RediTabs® (orally disintegrating tablets that dissolve quickly in the mouth) are approved for children age six and older.
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