Expert Advice

How can I treat hay fever?

Using anti-allergy eye drops at the start of allergy season can fortify your immune system.

How can I treat hay fever?
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an ALLERGIST says: Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergy, occurs when inhaled pollen produces an exaggerated response from your immune system. The triggered rush of chemicals leads to red, irritated eyes, runny nose, heavy sneezing, and nasal congestion. ”
TREATMENT: I pre-treat with nasal and oral antihistamines, nasal steroids, and anti-allergy eye drops to prepare your system for allergy season. To calm sinuses, I recommend medications such as Claritin and Clarinex, and prescription Singulair; for nasal inflammation, I prescribe sprays like Nasonex and Veramyst, which contain corticosteroids.”
SELF-CARE: Gently rinse your closed eyelids daily to remove pollutants, excess mucus, and seasonal and indoor allergens. Wash nasal passages with a neti pot every morning to keep them clear and reduce swelling from constant sneezing and blowing. —Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

a TCM PRACTITIONER says: Hay fever is a sign of upper respiratory weakness, organ system imbalances, and reduced resistance. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses herbs and acupuncture to restore depleted energy reserves and strengthen the respiratory system. ”
TREATMENT: I recommend herbs and herbal formulas such as Bi Yan Pian, that contain chrysanthemum flowers, xanthium fruit, magnolia flowers, forsythia fruit, and licorice root. When these ingredients are combined they reduce inflammation and swelling, open nasal and sinus passages, and relieve congestion. ”
SELF-CARE: For instant allergy relief, massage several easily located acupuncture points for a minute or two. Try the Large Intestine 20 point, located in the lower crease on both sides of your nostrils, to stimulate drainage, clear nasal passage congestion, and quell sneezing. —Efram Korngold, O.M.D., L.Ac., co-owner of Chinese Medicine Works in San Francisco

a HOMEOPATH says: Homeopathy doesn’t treat the specific effects of seasonal allergies, but rather works to rebalance your internal energy, or “vital force,” and thus strengthen your immune system. ”
TREATMENT: Operating on the principle that like heals like, homeopathy uses natural remedies derived from plant, animal, and mineral sources. I often prescribe Allium cepa tablets: Made from onions, they trigger allergylike symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, and watery and irritated eyes to allow your natural defenses to adapt to the allergen. I prescribe a 30c potency to be taken twice daily for two days after symptoms start. ”
SELF-CARE: To find specific remedies for common symptom combos—runny nose/burning eyes, watery eyes/sneezing, congestion/stuffy head, consult Everyone’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine (Tarcher, 2004), by Stephen Cummings and Dana Ullman. —Pamela Swanson, R.N., C.C.H., an alternative medicine practitioner with Homeopathic Associates of Central Florida