Date: 07/15/2015 Print This Post


Contact: Steve Levesque, Chrissy Sutphin

LOS ANGELES – Continuing to share potentially life-saving tips as part of illuminating the connections between pharmaceutical science and overall wellness, Dr. Mona Vand – The Modern Pharmacist ( tackles the perfect topic for summer – seasonal allergies – on the latest in her informative “Mona Minutes” video series that appears on her website (

In the clip, Dr. Vand discusses the key differences between antihistamines and decongestants – and when to take which. “Seasonal allergies are common,” she says. “They affect about 35 million people a year and you can get them at any point in life. Antihistamines aren’t always the answer to seasonal allergies; it really depends on your symptoms. The two types of medication classes you should be looking for are antihistamines and decongestants.

“Simply put, an antihistamine is going to dry everything up, so when you think of symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing, these are things you want to dry up with an antihistamine,” Dr. Vand continues. “Most make you drowsy, so it’s best to take them at night. When you experience symptoms causing congestion, like a stuffy nose, you need a decongestant, which shrinks the vessels in your nose and makes more space for air to get in. On the other hand, you should also know that this can increase blood pressure.”

Dr. Vand explains that decongestants can actually have an opposite effect of an antihistamine: “They can make you a little jittery and give you trouble sleeping, so you always want to take them in the morning. Sometimes, you might experience more than one symptom. You’re not always only going to have a runny nose or a stuffy nose. Sometimes you have both, which is frustrating. This is where you take a combination, like Claritin D. Whenever you see the letter ‘D’, that generally means ‘decongestant.’ If you look on the back under active ingredients, both antihistamine and decongestant will be listed.”

The key points Dr. Vand makes are:

  • Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include watery/itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing
  • Antihistamines dry everything up, get rid of itching and will help you sleep
  • Decongestants will open everything up, but may also make you jittery and – very important – can increase blood pressure
  • For people who experience symptoms under both categories, a combination ingredient with an antihistamine and decongestant is best.
  • In addition to medication, lifestyle modifications that can help alleviant the symptoms of allergies include 1) try to keep your windows closed when possible; 2) use an air purifier; 3) keep your house clean and dust-free and make sure you vacuum if you have rugs; 4) protect your face with sunglasses and a hat. Don’t let that pollen near your eyes!

Dr. Mona Vand – The Modern Pharmacist is putting a fresh face on the traditional world of pharmacy. Her Modern Pharmacist Movement combines her years of experience in pharmacy with her passion and expertise in nutrition, beauty, fitness and overall wellness. Learn more at