If you live anywhere remotely near the central east coast, you might be feeling a little off this year. It seems like every year the pollen count is competing to outdo previous years. And I seem to forget every spring that now I have allergies.

Thank you, my thirties and my son. You both have thrown me under the bus when it comes to make my susceptible.

When my son was an infant, I thought I was suffering cold on top of cold only to discover that they were in fact allergies. Since that time I’ve taken an allergy pill a day. But when spring arrives, even that isn’t enough. My throat gets that tell-tale scratchy quality which isn’t quite a cold, but is still painful. My sinuses stuff up. I grow lethargic and s-l-e-e-p-y. Basically, I’m nearly worthless.

Enter natural remedies…once the fog lifts enough to remember my tricks.

Allergy Remedies

I discovered the Neti pot during my pregnancy when I found out that one of the many side effects of growing a human is nasal stuffiness. (I could write a book—and perhaps one day will—about all the secrets no one ever broadcasts about pregnancy and owning an infant. For now, Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs will have to do. While unorthodox, she’s pretty much right about it all…except nasal stuffiness. I don’t remember her touching on that one. But here I am, chasing a rabbit once again…)

Back to the Neti pot. Basically, you buy a pot designed specifically for the purpose of watering your nose. You can find them at your local health food, vitamin, or big box store (everyone carries them these days). Once home, unbox and do the following:

  1. Sanitize the pot. Since mine is plastic, I simply throw it into the dishwasher after each use. I’ve heard great things about ceramic pots, but when I bought mine I was planning to travel with it. Plastic seemed the way to go, and I love not worrying about it breaking.
  2. Prepare two cups of distilled or seriously filtered lukewarm water and a scoop of your Neti saline solution in a clean container with a spout. Pyrex is my preference, and I get my solution at the Vitamin Shoppe, but you can get this just about anywhere as well. Amazon always seems a safe bet.
  3. Take your pot, your solution, and a box of tissues into the bathroom with you and shut the door. Seriously. No one needs to be a spectator for the actual nasal irrigation process. There are reasons my husband calls this my snot pot.
  4. If you have long hair, pull it up and get it out of the way. Especially if you’re already prettified for the day.
  5. Pour half of your liquid into the Neti pot, bend over the sink, tilt your head to about 45 degrees, and fit the spout gently into the upper nostril. Slowly begin pouring the liquid through that nostril and allowing it to exit the lower one. If liquid is pouring into your throat (they’re attached, after all), adjust your angle until it feels right. Or as right as can be when you’re getting used to something this insane.
  6. Step six involves lots of tissues, nose blowing, and a sensation somewhere between relief that you can now breathe, and horror that you now need to repeat step five through six-A on the second nostril.
  7. Now you can breathe, relax, and go enjoy the rest of your day.

There are some precautions to take when using a Neti. LOOK THEM UP BEFORE DECIDING TO TRY THIS FOR YOURSELF. Done wrong or with an unsanitary pot or unclean water, nasal irrigation can be dangerous. Done right, it’s one of the best things you may ever discover.

Q&B

Now on to remedy two. Add Quercetin and Bromelain (Q&B) to your daily supplements. Correct dosage depends upon where you purchase your Q&B and what brand you acquire. But here’s what you need to know: Quercetin blocks histamines. This means you’ll be breathing more clearly. It’s combined with Bromelain because this enzyme helps relieve sinus symptoms. Basically (remembering that I’m by no means a medical professional), it’s a natural form of allergy medicine. At least that’s how I understand it. And time and use has proved that to be true in my case.

Of course, I hope you don’t even need any of this information because you are one of the lucky ones who love every single aspect of spring, including the pollen. But if you suffer from allergies at all, I’d love to hear if you use either of these remedies and how you feel about it.

Breathe easy, my friend!

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Please consult with your doctor or other medical professional before trying either of the remedies listed above. I am not a medical doctor, nutritionist, or anything remotely scientific. I’m just sharing what works for me.

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