What is histamine?

Histamine is an immune response compound produced by the body that causes, among other things, inflammation.

When something that the body identifies as a threat comes along, some of the cells in the nearby tissue produce histamine in an attempt to remove the invaders.

In addition to inflammation and itching, fluid is released from tiny blood vessels as part of the allergic response, hence the runny nose and watery eyes commonly associated with hay fever.

What is antihistamine?

Basically, antihistamine (also known as histamine antagonist) prevents the production of histamine by introducing a competing response that blocks histamine from attaching to nerves, small muscles, mast cells etc which can bring reduce inflammation and mucous production.

Itchiness and sneezing is prevented by antihistamine blocking your nasal nerve H1-receptors.

Antihistamine Nasal Sprays

Antihistamine direct to the nose is still relatively unknown on the hay fever scene in many countries.

Much to the delight of an increasing number of sufferers, these non-addictive sprays can start working in under 15 minutes and continue working for up to 12 hours.

People who don’t like other spray products may reject the benefits of what they might think is “just another nasal spray”.

There is an antihistamine nasal spray containing azelastine that in addition to relieving hay fever symptoms, also has anti-inflammatory properties and provides a decongestant effect.

Azep, for which Australian guidelines recommend one spray per nostril twice daily, is suitable for adults and children 5 years and over.1

Sources:

  1. AZEP Nasal spray Australian product information. MEDA Pharmaceuticals, January 2014.