An Arsenal to Battle Spring Allergies

Allergy season is upon us, along with the misery it brings.

Dr. Vazquez-Bryan has tips for giving you some relief.

You know it is allergy season when you start to have nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, a raspy voice, post nasal drip, and sinus pressure.  It is sometimes hard to tell if you have a cold or allergies, so talking to your doctor is a good idea if you aren’t sure. The current pollen counts for the area are very high. Here are some tips to get you through.

Do your best to avoid the cause.

I know it is hard to avoid the problem when you go outside, but there are a few things you can do to limit the exposure. Keeping your windows in your car and home closed can help keep the pollen out.  Shower when you get home to ensure you rinse any pollen of your skin and hair.  Take your shoes off before you enter your home.

Use saline nasal spray regularly.

Saline nasal spray is a cheap way to help rinse out your nose and sinuses and remove the pollen.  You can buy this at any store.  I usually recommend rinsing both sides of the nose at least 2 times per day.

Take oral allergy pills.

When doing the above isn’t enough, medications such as Claritin (Loratadine), Zyrtec (Cetirizine) and Allergy (Fexofenadine), Xyzal (Levocetirizine) are all over the counter and can be very helpful. Sometimes you have to try different ones to see which works best for you. It is best to avoid the ones with the D (decongestant) since they can increase blood pressure and make people feel anxious.  Taking these regularly can help.  For kids, talk to your doctor about the right dose.

Steroid nasal sprays can also help.

If you are doing all of the things above and still no improvement, I recommend adding a steroid nasal spray. There are a lot out there. Flonase and Nasacort are over the counter and both work well. Sometimes people require a prescription nasal spray, so talk to your doctor if you have tried these and haven’t found them helpful.  I always recommend using the saline spray before using this spray. 

If you are looking for something a bit more natural, there is evidence that local raw honey can be helpful. This is best for prevention, but can be added to the regimen listed above.

If you have done all of these things and still haven’t found relief, talk to your doctor. 

All of the medications listed above can be bought in the store, over the counter, without a prescription. You can often save money by having your doctor send a prescription and using coupons from websites such as or

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