The Allergy Kit

About Benadryl


Learn the important facts about Benadryl, the benefits, potential side effects, precautions, and administration of this versatile and useful medicine.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 26 million Americans deal with difficult allergies. The numbers climb to about 40 million when it comes to milder allergy symptoms that occur in the spring and fall seasons. And while, I am a big fan of herbal and natural treatments, when it comes to treating allergy symptoms and other related problems there is actually one medicine I think is important enough to keep in your medicine cabinet. That medicine is Benadryl.

Not too long ago I drove a friend to the hospital after a scorpion bit her. She was bitten twice, she was vomiting, she was experiencing numbness in her extremities, and we were extremely concerned about her. One of the first things the doctor did for her upon her arrival was the administration of Benadryl. The treatment worked effectively and my friend was out of danger very quickly. In another instance, a doctor I know told me that this is one of the most important medications that he keeps in his own bathroom cabinet at home. Clearly, when it comes to soothing the symptoms of allergies, this drug renders some amazing results.

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient in each tablet of Benadryl is Diphenhydramine HC1, an antihistamine, antiemetic (a medicine that counters the symptoms of nausea and vomiting), and sedative that blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in the body. Diphenhydramine reduces itching and swelling and it is used for treating a variety of allergies and their symptoms.

For the most part, Benadryl has been known to be extremely effective and safe when treating allergy related symptoms such as red and inflamed eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes hives, rashes and other allergy symptoms caused either by seasonal irritants or other allergy producing annoyances. However, while this medication is very effective in treating allergic reactions, it has one large drawback; it can make people very drowsy. Consequently, anyone considering taking this medicine is always cautioned about operating machinery, driving a car or performing activities that require extreme attention.


As an antihistamine, Benadryl reduces mucous secretion by clearing up a stuffy nose. It will also reduce an allergic reaction to bug bites, pollen, dust and other allergic producing irritants. An important benefit of using this medication is that within only an hour, the person taking it will feel the benefits. In fact, one dose can bring relief for up to five or six hours. However, in order for it to be safe and effective, one should always take this medication according to the directions.

Generally speaking, the administration of this drug is partially determined by the level and intensity of the allergy. Adults can usually take anywhere from 25 to 50 mg three or four times a day whereas children should be given much lower doses of Benadryl. Young people should only be given 12 to 25 mg and children should not take more than 300 mg in any one given day. To determine the correct dosage, age, weight and medical conditions must be taken into account. Although this drug is sold over the counter, it’s best to speak with a doctor before taking it to be sure you’re a good candidate.

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Possible Side Effects

Some people taking Benadryl might experience side effects that could be more uncomfortable than the allergy itself. If you are one of those people, you might be able to take it in a lower dose or perhaps your doctor can monitor the amount you take. The most common side effects reported when taking this medication are dry mouth, nose, and throat, extreme drowsiness, light headedness, impaired ability to concentrate or focus, an increase in appetite and weight gain, upset stomach, and a thickening of mucous.

Very often after taking Benadryl for a while, the body adjusts and the side effects diminish. There are even reports that rather than making people drowsy, in some instances, particularly in children, this medicine can cause children to become hyperactive. When it comes to the elderly population, they also must use caution when taking it as it can cause dizziness or even lower blood pressure. If you plan on taking this medication, it is recommended that no other product or drug be taken with it that contains Diphenhydramine. It is also recommended that one should avoid any type of alcoholic beverage or tranquilizers, as these can amplify drowsiness. In addition, before driving a vehicle or operating machinery, it is also important to determine how the drug affects you.

Special Precautions

While this is a medication that has proven results, there are certain people and conditions that must use extreme caution before taking Benadryl. For example, anyone with glaucoma, breathing problems, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have urinary problems or are taking any type of sedative or tranquilizer should ask their doctor if taking this medication is okay. In addition, certain people notice that their vision becomes blurred, so if there is a change in vision, one should speak to their doctor. There have also been reports that some people experience a ringing or buzzing in the ears, muscle aching, cramping or restlessness. Naturally, anyone who experiences anything out of the ordinary should either discontinue taking this medicine or speak with their physician.

Another precaution relates to whether or not this drug is habit forming. While some people think they can become addicted to Benadryl, in all truthfulness it isn’t an addiction that is created, but more of a emotional dependency. What might happen is that if you take the drug repeatedly for long periods of time, you can become dependent on it, but it doesn’t appear to be a physical addiction. Depending on the length of time you have taken this medicine, it could take a few weeks before you are able to completely stop taking it. If you have taken it for a long time and you want to stop, it’s probably best to reduce the amount you take by slowly weaning yourself so you won’t feel the effects as dramatically.


Generally speaking, Benadryl is taken by following the exact directions on the package or you may ask your doctor or pharmacist how it should be taken. Basically, this is a drug that should be taken with a full glass of water. It doesn’t matter if you take it with food or without food.

A typical dose of Benadryl for an adult is between 25 and 50 milligrams, up to 4 times per day. The sleep inducing dose is 50 milligrams taken before bed. A typical dose for a child is between 12.5 and 25 milligrams, up to 4 times per day. Children should not take more than 300 milligrams in a 24 hour period.

If you forget to take this medication, simply take another dose as soon as you remember, but never take two doses at the same time. For the drug to keep its potency, it should be stored at room temperature and kept away from moisture.

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In Conclusion

Benadryl is an extremely effective over the counter medication for allergies. As with any medication, however, just because it is bought over the counter, one should never take more than recommended. When taking too much, one might experience a reaction such as confusion, shaking, insomnia and possibly seizures. If you experience any type of breathing difficulty, or disturbing side effects, you should seek medical help. Of course, if you suspect that you or a family member have taken too much, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

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