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Cold and Flu

Antihistamines and the Immune System

12/18/2008

Question:

I have a weak immune system, and tend to catch colds and flu quite a bit. But I also have rhinitis, and use antihistamines to control this. Is it true that using antihistamines will weaken my immune system, and make it easier for me to get sick with colds and such?

Answer:

No, there is no truth to this statement.  In fact, if indeed you are allergic, antihistamines will reduce or prevent sneezing, runny nose and drainage, the same symptoms that people experience when they get a common cold.  I would see an allergist if you haven't already to confirm if you are "atopic" (genetically predisposed to producing specific allergic antibodies to an allergen, i.e., pollen, cat, dust mite...).

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati