Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thirteen #234

Good morning! Achoo! The pollen is thick, isn't it?

There is help for allergy sufferers! I've suffered from this bane of spring all of my life, so I thought I'd offer up 13 tips for feeling better during this time of sneezes.

1. Rinse your nose and sinuses. The best way to do this is with a neti pot. To use a neti pot, heat distilled water (not tap water) and add sea salt and baking soda. You can buy neti pots at most drug stores these days, and they come with instructions. You can do this every day or just once a week or any time in between. This is the best help for allergy sufferers.

2. If you don't want to use a neti pot, then use a saline nasal spray. Drug stores also sell pre-mixed versions of this, but I find that they burn and irritate more than they help because of the preservatives in them. So what I do is buy the cheapest version, pour out the solution, and make my own, with distilled water and sea salt, every couple of days. That way you can keep your sinuses moistened and help keep the allergens cleared out. Nothing feels better using this about 30 minutes after it's made while the solution is still a little warm. Use this frequently. I personally replace the plastic spray container every couple of months. Do not let them sit long without using them. Be sure to clean the sprayer with alcohol.

3. Shower at night. During allergy season, I take two short showers a day. The one at night washes the pollen out of my hair and off my body. While two showers might not work for you, showering at night instead of in the morning should prove a beneficial change.

4. Change or wash the bed linens frequently. This is particularly necessary if you don't shower at night. The pollen comes off your body and gets on your bed clothes, and in turn that means you're breathing pollen all night long.

5. Close the windows. I have found the only time I can have the windows open is after a good rain. Then for an hour or so I will open the windows and air out the house. The rest of the time, the windows are closed and we cool the house with the air conditioner. It is expensive but no more so than doctors visits or time lost due to illness.

6. Take a multivitamin. I take a lot of vitamins because I have a low immune system and don't process things well, but definitely a multivitamin of some kind is called for while you're struggling with allergies. Extra B Complex is a good choice, too, along with magnesium at night to help you sleep and relax. Check with your doctor, particularly if you have other health issues.

7. See a doctor. She can suggest over-the-counter medications that are specific for you and your condition. Generally, this will be an antihistamine or an antihistamine-decongestant mix. I take a generic version of Claritin, myself. Zyrtec is good too. Some people find relief with Allegra, though I do not. Do not take any medication without first seeing your physician. This is particularly true if you take drugs for other medical conditions. As an FYI, I have found Walmart brand generics (Equate brand) tend to work better than other brand generics. Generics are supposed to be exactly like the brand-name, original drug, but they're not. I hate supporting that particular company but truth is truth.

8. Use Ayr nasal gel with aloe. I recently discovered this and what a great product! No, I am not getting paid to endorse this. But it has made a huge difference in how my sinuses feel. It eliminates dryness and seems to make everything in there feel better. Apply inside the nostrils with a Q-tip.

9. Be careful how you blow your nose. Do not just honk into a tissue. You should blow gently, first on one side, and then the other. You can bust a blood vessel or something if you go at it wildly. Plus you enhance the risk of a sinus or ear infection by forcing things back up into your sinuses. Don't blow your nose in front of other people if you can help it. Excuse yourself and go elsewhere. Be polite.

10. You can unstop your nose so you can breathe by massaging the area along the sides. Also if you push in for about 10 seconds and let it out, after about three times something will open up and you will feel a little better. You may have to do this often if you're having a particularly hard time. Also, tapping on the sinuses will loosen things up; you can rub under your eyes, across your forehead just above your eyebrows, and around your ears.

11. For sinus headaches, place a warm compress on the forehead. You may also want to breathe in steam, either from a pot on the stove or from a steam humidifier or vaporizer. You can add tea tree oil to this if you want; it only takes a few drops. Do not drink tea tree oil or put it on your skin; inhale the fumes only. If you don't want to use that, try a little Vicks vapor rub.

12. Get the pets out of the bedroom. I know you love them but, at least while you're fighting seasonal allergies, keep them away from you. Your pets, like you, bring pollen into the bedroom. You need some time away from the pollen in order to get better.

13. Take this stuff seriously. You need to rest, take care of yourself, drink plenty of fluids, maybe even take a day off from work. Allergies can lead to many other issues, such as sinus infections, ear infections, severe headaches, asthma, and pneumonia. Allergies weaken your body and your immune system. Do not dismiss them.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 234rd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. neti pots are awesome. use my often. (:

  2. Thanks for the helpful hints, Anita. I think we are both on the same allergy continuum.

  3. I'm with you. I've got my neti pot at the ready for this season. I'm not going to give up gardening and nature walks. Good post by the way.

  4. OMG... now you have me wondering if I have been blowing my nose properly or just honking.. LOL

  5. Got a cold that made me wonder. Now I am doing hot compresses on my eyes twice a day for clogged tear ducts (It's chronic and reoccurring).

  6. some I knew. 4&10 are good tips.

  7. Thanks for the tips, Anita. Will have to look for that Ayr's gel.

  8. Luckily, our pollen right now is not the kind that sets me off. I'm sure it's coming though.

    Have a great Thursday!

  9. I love my Neti-pot! It saved me during both my pregnancies and I use it every morning. It's wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing!

    My TT:

  10. you are really on the ball with all this! i'm so lucky to not suffer from allergies...nor my husband and kids!

  11. What do you do with the netti pot once the stuff is made? I shudder to thing.

  12. A helpful list for allergy sufferers. I'm not particularly allergic to anything but I hate multiple sneezing. In my part of the world a little dust and I could get a huge sneeze attack.

  13. Sis,
    I have been using AYR for years. It's great stuff. Wath the Netti pot use. I love mine, but you need to boil it out regularly because if it stays damo, mold can build it.


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