If anti-histamines work by suppressing the immune system to avoid allergic reactions, then why do we not see an increase in infectious diseases such as the cold or flu in those who regularly take them?

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If anti-histamines work by suppressing the immune system to avoid allergic reactions, then why do we not see an increase in infectious diseases such as the cold or flu in those who regularly take them?

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Anti-histamine itself is as its name: it’s anti ‘histamine’. The histamine is a chemical produce by immune system. The medicine will directly suppress reaction of histamine that result in allergic reaction. It doesn’t affect immune system. And because there’re many ways that the immune system fight with pathogens, the suppression of histamine won’t affect immune system operation that much.

They don’t suppress the immune system, at least not entirely.

They suppress, as the name suggests, histamine receptors. These receptors are involved in the inflammatory response.

They recruit immune cells and increase tissue permeability – which is useful to allow white blood cells to enter affected areas – but don’t directly contribute to your body’s defence.

Moreover, even in a real infection scenario, they often do more harm than good; excess inflammation can significantly damage tissues, impair drainage and promote certain types of infection.

In allergies, we get an excess and unhelpful immune response and distract the body’s systems away from actual threats. Most studies that have investigated infection frequency in patients using antihistamines conclude that their infection risk is LOWER owing to the more reasonably moderated immune response.

OP, I think you are confusing antihistamine and corticosteroid. They both have similar results but the latter affects the immune system considerably. I believe its because the effect is high enough to stop inflammation but not high enough disable the pathogen fighting cells.