The Triangle is unsurpassed in it's Spring beauty, and formidable during allergy season. According to Allergy Capitals, a part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill ranks at No. 31 amongst US cities with the most severe allergies. What does this mean for Breastfeeding Mamas and Babes?
Breastfeeding Helps Your Child with Long Term Allergy Issues. A Swedish study conducted by the Department of Environmental Health in Stockholm, concluded that there is a correlation between breastfeeding and the prevention of early development of allergic diseases up to two years of age.
Medications Mitigating Your Milk There are plenty of medications that will keep you feeling healthy during the allergy season, but beware of others that can tank your supply. A great website to learn more about your options is www.infantrisk.com. Here's a breakdown from Texas Tech University:
Antihistamines It is advised for a breastfeeding mom to use the newer non-sedating antihistamines instead of the older antihistamines. These include Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratidine (Claritin), and Fexofenadine (Allegra). The older sedating antihistamines include Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Chlorpheneramine (Aller Chlor), and Brompheneramine (Dimetapp). Sedation in a newborn or young infant can lead to apnea or temporary breathing cessation and therefore is something to be concerned about.
Decongestants Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and Phenylephrine (Vicks Sinex Nasal) are two of the most commonly used decongestants on the market. Pseudoephedrine is secreted into milk in low levels, however, it has been shown to decrease milk production and should be used with extreme caution in late-stage lactation (>8 months). Although levels of phenylephrine in milk have not been documented, they are thought to be low and theoretically can decrease milk supply. Antihistamines such as Zyrtec-D or Claritin-D contain these decongestants and should be used with caution by a breastfeeding mother. Oxymetazoline (Afrin) is a nasal spray decongestant that can be used to treat acute congestion. It should not be used for more than three days as it can cause rebound congestion.
Mast-Cell Stabilizers Mast Cell Stabilizers such as Cromolyn Sodium (Nasalcrom) suppress mast cell degranulation thereby reducing allergy symptoms. There is no data on its transfer into milk, but because it has a low pKa minimal levels would be expected in milk. This drug is used frequently in pediatric patients and poses little risk to an infant.
Corticosteroids Corticosteroids can be administered orally, inhaled, or intranasally. Inhaled corticosteroids include Beclomethasone (Beclovent) while intranasal ones include Fluticasone (Flonase, Flovent), Budesonide (Rhinocort), and Mometasone (Nasonex). Intranasal and inhaled corticosteroids may be safely used by a breastfeeding mother as the maternal plasma levels are low and therefore milk levels are low to undetectable. If oral steroids are used (i.e Prednisone), it is preferred for the dose to be kept low
Immunotherapy Allergy Immunotherapy or allergy injections are composed of protein substances that are unlikely to enter into milk. Allergy injections are safe to use in breastfeeding. Although adverse effects are unlikely, the infant should be observed for allergic reaction.
Staving Off the Sneezes, Naturally. There are many ways to stay comfortable during the allergy season while continuing to nurse.
- Keep your windows closed in the home and car during allergy season to avoid over exposure to pollen.
- Change your clothes when coming indoors to keep pollen outside.
- Dust and vacuum often to remove remaining pollen, if possible, with a hepa filter/
- Avoid outdoor activity during high pollen days, you can read the forecast by visiting www.pollen.com
- Rinse that Allergy Away-The Neti pot is a non evasive way to rinse the nostrils and sinuses of pollen. It seems odd and looks a little weird, but it feels wonderful and can work wonders on stuffy noses and postnasal drip.