With May being National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, it's a good time to review the best home-based ways to snuff-out the sniffles.
Carolyn McMillan is stuck. She wants to take her Harley out, but the grasses, trees and allergies keep her in the garage.
"My eyes get really watery. My nose gets runny, and it gets hard to breathe," McMillan told Ivanhoe.
When over-the-counter remedies failed, she needed more powerful medicine.
"Eye drops. Nose drops. Let's see, was on three different kinds of steroids. It's pretty intensive," McMillan said.
"If you are reacting during the spring, it means you are allergic to the trees. If you are reacting during the summer, it means you are allergic to the grasses," Talal Nsouli, M.D., from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, told Ivanhoe.
Dr. Nsouli knows. As former personal allergist to president Bill Clinton, he's even worked out of the White House.
"Very intense place. It's a wonderful place to be in," Dr. Nsouli said.
Your spring can be wonderful by making your own salt-water nasal spray. It cleans out thick mucous that over-the-counter stuff won't. Plus, it keeps your nose hairs clean, which may fight sinusitis.
Spicy foods can thin and drain mucous in your nose.
Anyone allergic to pollen should stay away from bananas, melon, or sunflower seeds. They can make standard symptoms much worse.
Also, add some milk to your kids' diets. New research shows kids with low vitamin D levels had a higher risk of reaction to ragweed and grasses.
"It's no longer considered a simple disease affecting the nose, but it can affect the whole quality of life," Dr. Nsouli said.
"You can't let it stop you. In the spring and the fall, those are my really hard times," McMillan said.
McMillan needs medicine, and if you do, too, it's best to start three weeks before allergy season.
You might also try acupuncture for your allergies. A small study recently found 100 percent of hay-fever patients who went under the needle reduced their symptoms without side effects.
If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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