It's hard to enjoy spring's greenery when you can't stop sneezing. One or all 3 of these hay fever treatments can bring allergy relief.
Traditional Allergy Relief
James L. Sublett, M.D., allergist and immunologist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY
Your first step should be an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as loratadine or cetirizine, to prevent sneezing, sniffling and itchiness, along with a prescription steroid nasal spray to reduce nasal inflammation from hay fever. Use these allergy treatments daily during peak allergy season. If this combination doesn't control symptoms, ask your doctor about allergy shots (known as immunotherapy).
Alternative Allergy Relief
Melissa Josselson, N.D., director of the Virtua Health & Wellness Center in Washington Township, NJ
Quercetin, found in fruits and vegetables, is an antihistamine, decongestant and anti-inflammatory. Take it in supplement form, starting with 500 mg three times a day on an empty stomach. Relieve runny nose and sneezing by brewing stinging nettle tea: 2 tsp of dried leaves in hot water; drink two to five cups daily. (Both allergy remedies are at health food stores.)
Lifestyle Approaches for Allergy Relief
Jay Portnoy, M.D., chief of allergy, asthma and immunology at Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
It's tempting to open windows when it's warm, but that lets pollen in. You're better off keeping windows closed and running your air conditioner. If you do yard work, wear a respiratory mask labeled N95, a government rating that means it filters about 95 percent of airborne particles. Afterward, shower and change clothes to remove pollen.
From our sister publication, REMEDY's Healthy Living, Spring 2011