The Zyrtec Itchies & A Zaful Dress

I have a little story to share. And a cute little dress from Zaful. Hopefully, it is helpful to some. The story. Not the dress. Although I do hope you like the dress, too. It was gifted to me by Zaful to share with you all.

*This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back to my story. The information I am about to share would have been quite helpful to me had I known. But I found out the hard way. It seems that the popular over the counter allergy medication, Zyrtec, is quite physically addicting and you can experience some horrendous withdrawal symptoms when stopping cold turkey.

I have been taking over the counter allergy medications for a few years now as prescribed by my doctor. I usually alternate every month between Zyrtec and Claritin. I find the medications more effective when I do this. For some reason, I hadn’t alternated in a few a months and have taken only Zyrtec. But last Tuesday, I had taken my last Zyrtec and just hadn’t had the opportunity to get a refill. My allergies weren’t all that bothersome so I didn’t bother myself with a trip to the pharmacy.

By Thursday afternoon, I began experiencing severe itching on my shoulders. Small hives began to break out, but it was isolated only to my shoulders. I figured it was just some sort of irritation from my clothing. And it stopped after a few hours, so I ignored it. Again, my nasal allergy symptoms were not bothering me at all.

Then late Friday night, it was as if all hell broke loose in my body. Around 10:30 p.m., the itching started again. But this time it was primarily isolated to my scalp with some minor itching on my arms, back, and legs. But it was the scalp that really got me. I took some Benedryl, but to no avail. The more I scratched my head, the worse the itching became. I couldn’t fall asleep. So around 11:30 p.m. I took a shower. I was thinking there was some sort of allergen on my skin that was irritating me and a shower would wash it off.

After my shower, the itching seemed to get worse and worse. I literally wanted to scrape my skin off. By about 12:30 a.m., I was convinced that I had head lice. I woke my husband in a panic and demanded that he check my hair for nits or bugs. I was quite literally freaking the eff out! He combed and picked through my hair and found nothing. He just kept saying, “Hon, your hair and scalp are totally clean. There is absolutely nothing there.”

Even given that peace of mind, I still could not fall asleep because of the severe itching. So I went downstairs to do some research. I really did not want to look at symptoms of head lice because I knew pictures would pop up on my computer screen and that would give me the heebie jeebies! (Remember my phobia of bugs. And the smaller they are, the more they creep me out. Parasites are my ultimate freak out phobia trigger!) But I Google searched “symptoms of head lice” anyway. Other than the itchy scalp, there was no evidence that parasites were causing my symptoms.

Next I typed into a Google search “causes of itchy scalp”. And the answer was staring me in the face. Pages and pages of horror stories about what has been termed “the Zyrtec itchies.” Most of the stories I read told tales of the most severe itching ever which began around day 3 after stopping the medication. A majority of the people who shared their experiences also stated that the itching was primarily focused on the scalp. One person wrote, “This magnitude of itching trumps any bout of bad itching ever experienced by a human being.” That about explains it! You can read this person’s account here. And there piles of stories about Zyrtec withdrawal if you just type into your Google search bar “Zyrtec withdrawal” or “Zyrtec itchies”.

So once I had identified the cause of this atrocious itching, I went back to bed figuring I would suffer through night and get some Zyrtec in the morning. My husband woke up as I climbed into bed and I explained to him what the cause was. Genius that he is in his middle of the night sleep stupor, he suggested that I take a dose of the children’s Zyrtec that we had on hand…to take the edge off. Brilliant! I literally would not have thought of that. So I grabbed that bottle of liquid kids’ medication and double dosed myself! Within 20 minutes, the itching had stopped and I was able to get some sleep.

The next morning, I stopped at my local pharmacy and grabbed a bottle of adult Zyrtec. But I am not taking it every day now. I am going to titrate myself off of this beastly medication. And I am going to stop giving it to my children every day as well. So for the next week or two, I am taking it every other day. Then I will go down to every third day…until I can get this monstrous beast out of my system without this insane side effect!

So, my friends, if you take Zyrtec daily for seasonal allergies…beware of the Zyrtec itchies if you try to quit cold turkey!  Benedryl will not treat the symptom.  The only thing that will stop the itching is Zyrtec itself, creating a crazy cycle of addiction and withdrawal!

Outfit Details
Dress: Chiffon Plus Size Floral Ruffles Dress c/o Zaful (Currently on sale for $17.99).
Vest: Cato Fashions (No longer available).
Necklace and Earrings: Cato Fashions (No longer available. See their selection of tassel necklaces here).
Sandals: Target (Similar here).

Do any of you take Zyrtec or another medication for seasonal allergies? Have you ever experienced the Zyrtec itchies? I would love to hear your experience!

Thanks so much for stopping by! And remember to submit photos of your Bad Buy Sandals for August’s edition of The Bad Buy Book.

Itching on the edge,


Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.


I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

28 Responses

  1. I suffered with seasonal allergies for over 40 years. Tried all of the otc medications. One year ago I started seeing a nutritionist. We worked on cleaning up my diet (switch to anti-inflammatory diet), identified foods that I had issues with (mango, avocados, pineapple, etc.) that I had been eating for years. Took those out of my diet as well as cutting back on sugar/gluten/dairy/soy. The changes cooled the inflammation in my body. The result? I have not taken an allergy pill this year. In spring allergies used to be so bad it seemed like I had a cold for months. This year? NOTHING. The first time since my teens I can go out for walks in the spring summer and not turn into a sneezing mess. Plus it’s such a relief to not be taking allergy meds anymore. I also haven’t had a cold/flu since making the changes to my diet.

    • Oh wow, Deb! That is amazing! I have heard of diet changes making these improvements. That will definitely be my next step! Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. I had never heard of this reaction to Zyrtec – so thanks for all this info! Sorry you had to suffer so much though, itching is the worst. Thanks for linking up – your new dress is adorable. xo


  3. Warrior Mama

    I don’t have allergies, but I get itchy when my kids don’t let me shower. Cute dress!!

    • Hahahaha! I get itchy when unshowered as well…which is precisely the reason I thought a shower would solve the problem. But alas, showers do not cure medication withdrawal! Thanks for the compliment and your continued support, Warrior Mama!


  4. Wow. Never heard of this problem but I don’t have much of an issue with allergies. Just a few weeks as seasons change and then I take Claritin. How marvelous is it that we can turn to the internet for nearly all the information we need? I’m glad that you’ve got a handle on it now and I too have found that changes in my diet have made improvements in my health. It’s worth investigating. Be well.


    • I never had allergies until I had kids and I have to say it has been miserable! I am definitely going to look into the dietary changes (I type that I am stuffing a hot dog in my face!) But for real, I need to do something different because I don’t want to keep putting this medication into my body if it has such an effect! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience with me, Rena! I hope you are well!


  5. I love the long lacy cardigan thingy and those sandals are super cool


  6. Oh no! I definitely need to check into my medication. I have HORRIBLE allergies year round. I use a nasal spray, net pot and take the generic equivalent of Zyrtec daily. It’s awful. Sometimes the medications don’t work 🙁 But I never thought about addiction! Yikes! As if allergies aren’t bad enough lol!


    • Seriously, Liz, I had no idea either! I always take the generic Zyrtec, too. I stopped the nasal sprays because they were drying me out too much. And I use the neti pot when it gets extreme…again, too often with that and I got too dry. I find that I don;t get total relief from the medications, but they do help a little. Good luck with all your allergy mess and let me know if you find out something new as well!


  7. This set of pictures is fabulous! It all looks so great together, even though it is only a few pieces. And those legs, they go on for days lol. It even has a little whimsical something or other w the fresh grass/random weeds at the bottom (made me think of fairies.) Oh and glad the itchiness issue was resolved, and that it wasnt the “L” word because I am around you way too much for you to have that!

    • Aimee, thanks so much! I really loved how this outfit turned out and the photos, too! And you know my phobia, so I am gladder than you that it wasn’t the “L” word causing the itchies!


  8. Thanks for making us aware of the Zyrtec itchies, I never knew and I take allergy medicine every single day, including Zyrtec. How scary!!!
    Not scary? Your cute dress that I LOVE with the lace vest and gladiator sandals. Highlights your great legs!

    • Kellyann, thank you so much for the lovely compliment! Isn’t that crazy…about the Zyrtec itchies? It is a little bit scary that your body can become so dependent on an OTC allergy medication that you can’t even tolerate coming off of it! So I went to an every other day dosage and by the end of the day that I skipped the medication, the itchies began already, but only slightly and definitely tolerable. So I am going to keep at it titrating off of this.


  9. You are wild! Cool Look! Thanks for joining the Ageless Style Linkup party.

  10. Sucha lovely dress Shelbee, love how you have styled this outfit 🙂 Thanks for sharing at The Wednesday blog hop.

  11. That sounds horrendous! Lucky you worked out what was causing the itching quite quickly, it would have driven me mad! On a more positive note, I love your floral print dress and lace topper.

    Emma xxx

    • Thanks so much, Emma! And it definitely did drive me mad for the duration of it! I am glad I figured it out quickly, too, because I would have still been convinced that there were invisible bugs on me! Hahaha.


  12. Oh Shelbee, you had an awful week! I have allergies but they are never been that serve. I hope you are feeling and you got your prescription filled. By the way, the dress is fantastic and it looks wonderful on you.

    • Gigi, thanks so much for your kind words! I did get my Zyrtec which solved the itchy problem, but now I have come down with a severe case of strep throat! In the middle of summer. Ugh. I don’t get it! And it’s quite miserable. But this too shall pass and I will be fine in a few days, I’m sure! Have a wonderful weekend!


  13. I like that lace vest. Thanks for joining the Top of the World Style party.

  14. This is such a cute outfit for summer, and what a crazy story!

    I hope you are having a great week so far!


    • Thank you so much, Amber! I was just at the doctor and told her about this withdrawal and she looked at me like I was crazy! Hahaha! It for real happened. And the children’s Zyrtec stopped it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, doll!