By Megan Boyle, Editorial Director

Are you or your loved ones sneezing, wheezing and reaching for tissues? Welcome to spring – and seasonal allergies.

Every year, pollen and mold trigger uncomfortable allergic reactions from February to early summer across the United States. In severe cases, it can take allergy shots and prescription medications to alleviate the symptoms. For those seeking relief without visiting a doctor, try these tips:

Neti Pot

This teapot-like device can relieve congestion and sinus pressure by flushing mucus out of nasal passages. When used correctly, neti pots are generally considered safe, even for children. To prevent infection, prepare a saline nasal rinse at home. Use distilled or boiled and cooled tap water and clean the device thoroughly between uses. For a hassle-free option, try a ready-to-use nasal spray, available for purchase in drug stores. 

Spring Cleaning

Good housecleaning habits can help keep allergies at bay:

OTC Medications and Herbal Supplements

Antihistamines, nasal steroids, decongestants and cromolyn sodium are all common over-the-counter medications used to treat the symptoms of allergies. Available in spray or capsule form, they work by blocking the release of histamines that trigger allergy symptoms or lowering mucus and sinus pressure.

In clinical trials, some herbal supplements and nutrients, such as butterbur, have shown potential for curbing allergy symptoms. But they may not be as effective or safe as medication, especially for long-term use during allergy season.

Avoid Triggers

If you know what causes your allergies, take steps to avoid the triggers: