Antihistamine medicines block the action of the chemical
histamine during an allergic reaction to an irritant (allergen). Allergic
symptoms, such as sneezing and itching, are not as bad when an antihistamine is
It's important to check with a doctor before giving
antihistamines to a child.
Some antihistamines can be bought
over-the-counter, and some are prescribed. They can be taken by mouth (oral) or
applied directly to the skin (topical). Pills and capsules contain a specific
dose of medicine. The dose in a cream or ointment depends on how much is
applied at one time and is harder to control. Too much antihistamine absorbed
through the skin can be toxic, especially to children. The use of cream or
ointment antihistamines is not reliable and not recommended.