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Pollen and Allergy Relief

Here's some allergy relief.

Need Allergy Relief When Pollen Counts Are High? continued...

To make his point, Berger uses an analogy: "What if someone takes your seat? Then you can no longer take that seat. It's now unavailable."

The same concept works with allergy medicine, says Berger. "If you take the allergy medicine, it blocks the site so histamine cannot be released. If you take allergy medicines regularly, you continue to block the site and control allergy symptoms."

Berger tells WebMD that taking antihistamines will not quickly stop today's stuffy nose or sneezing from allergies. Nor will these allergy medicines reverse existing allergy symptoms. Antihistamines prevent future allergy symptoms, says Berger.  

Berger also recommends trying nasal corticosteroids, the first-line allergy relief medicines, two weeks before pollen season begins to keep symptoms at bay.

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the best allergy medications work by inhibiting the immune system's release of chemicals (IgE) that can trigger allergic reactions. As Berger suggests, if allergy medicines are taken before you are exposed to pollen, they can help to stabilize your immune system before you experience the miserable allergy symptoms.

Recommended treatment for pollen allergies includes: over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines such as Allegra, Benadryl, or Clarinex; decongestants like Sudafed; nasal steroids like Beconase, Flonase, or Veramyst; and drugs that combine antihistamines and decongestants like Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D. Allergy shots or immunotherapy are also a viable option for allergy relief for pollen allergies.

Need Quick Allergy Relief After Pollen Exposure?

So where do you turn when pollen hits you head-on and catches you without any protective allergy medicine? Are there remedies to ward off nasal congestion and still get allergy relief? Absolutely, according to Murray Grossan, MD, a Los-Angeles-based ENT and author of The Sinus Cure.  Grossan tells WebMD that using a saline nasal rinse or nasal irrigation several times a day during the height of pollen season gives allergy relief for two reasons.

"The saline solution removes miniscule particles of pollen from the nasal passages and also removes IgE, the chemical in the body that reacts with pollen to give you the allergy symptoms," he explains. Lowered IgE levels mean fewer allergy symptoms.

Grossan knows all about nasal saline rinses and the respiratory system and with good reason: his Hydro-Pulse Nasal/Sinus Irrigator was featured in Time magazine (2000) as one of America's best inventions.

On a lighter note, Grossan mentions that the singer Enrico Caruso used to suck pickled fish before giving performances. "The hypertonic solution diluted his mucus, making it easier to sing," the doctor tells WebMD.

"In numerous published journal studies, findings show that patients with allergic rhinitis or chronic sinusitis who used saline nasal irrigation regularly left their doctors' offices with the bacterial load reduced, requiring fewer antibiotics and expressing much greater patient satisfaction," Grossan says.

To make a saline solution for nasal rinsing during pollen season, Grossan says use 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 4 ounces of bottled water.

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