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Allergies Health Center

Pollen and Allergy Relief

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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.

See Your Allergist for More Allergy Relief

Lastly, if you are plagued by pollen allergies year round, your doctor may recommend allergy testing and allergy shots (immunotherapy). To get allergy relief, your doctor may also prescribe an inhaled steroid nasal spray, a non-sedating antihistamine, a decongestant, or other allergy medications.          

It's important to stay on your allergy medications daily to get full allergy relief and to prevent further problems.  Allergy medicines are especially necessary during spring pollen season when you risk being in allergy overload from all the offending substances.  

If you feel that your allergy medicines are not giving you enough relief, talk to your doctor or allergist.  Many of the newer inhaled allergy medicines can help stop inflammation and mucus production without side effects, allowing you to regain control of your active life.  

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Reviewed on February 18, 2009

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