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    How to Survive Spring Allergy Season

    Allergy Drugs continued...

    Nasal corticosteroid sprays. You spritz them into your nose, and they can give you relief from stuffiness and sneezing. But they may take a few days or weeks to kick in. Examples are:

    Eyedrops. They work fast -- about 15 to 20 minutes -- when your eyes are itchy and watery. And they may prevent symptoms, too. But for some folks, they may cause stinging or a headache.

    Some you can try are:

    Allergy Shots

    You may want to look into these if meds don't get the job done. Your doctor will give you a series of injections -- over months or years -- that contain a little bit of the pollen you're allergic to. Just like getting a vaccine, your body builds up a defense system that keeps pollen from causing symptoms.

    Don't expect instant results. "It's a very slow fix," Faltay says. "It takes 6 months to a year to see reliable effects." You'll probably stay on them for 3-5 years. After that, your body will keep ignoring your allergy trigger.

    Home Remedies and Alternate Treatment

    Nasal irrigation . That's just a fancy way to say rinse out your nose with salty water. It can be a huge help when you're all stuffed up. Put a saline mix -- either store-bought or homemade -- into a neti pot, bulb syringe, or squeeze bottle, and then flush out your nasal passages. To make your own rinse, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda. Then add it to 1 cup of lukewarm distilled water or boiled water after it's cooled down.

    Acupuncture . Some studies, but not all, suggest it eases symptoms. If you try it, experts recommend you begin 2 months before allergy season kicks off.

    Herbs. Some people swear by herbal remedies like goldenseal, butterbur, and stinging nettle. But they're not proven to work and may trigger side effects.

    Allergy Testing

    Want to get to the bottom of which types of pollen trigger your symptoms? Try allergy testing.

    With a skin test, your doctor pricks your arm with different things that cause allergies and waits for a reaction. If you get redness and swelling, you're allergic. Or you can get a blood test.

    No matter the trigger, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Pay attention to pollen counts, stay inside when you can, and shower after being outdoors, Faltay says.

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    Reviewed on January 31, 2016

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