SEATTLE -- It's that time of year again - springtime allergy season.
Cheryl Cuevas used to dread this time of year. The uncontrollable itching in her throat, ears, and nose made her want to rip her nose off her face.
How do you fight back without using drugs that make you drowsy?
The simplest solution is saline.
Naturopathic physician Jamey Wallace recommends saline nasal irrigation with neti pots and similar devices. He said be sure to boil the water first, then cool or use distilled water. And make sure to pay attention to technique.
Wallace says if that doesn't work, try supplements.
One of the most common supplements is stinging nettles. Don't let its little stingers scare you away, it can be a great remedy.
Fortunately, they also come in capsule form, which is what worked for Cheryl. She said within two hours all her symptoms were gone.
Quercetin is another natural supplement. It acts like an antihistamine, without the drowsiness.
Wallace said one of his favorites is eyebright, which is another plant and comes in capsule form.
Don't blame all your misery on outdoor pollen. Dr. Wallace says most of the allergy patients he sees this time of year also have pets, along with other indoor irritants.
So what's the solution?
Wallace said key things are making sure the air is clean, home is well vacuumed, and that "pets aren't prominently parked on the pillow."
With natural supplements, the key is to experiment slowly and find what works for you.
More is not better.
Wallace said as a naturopathic physician, he believes using the amount of intervention that you can to do the trick is the best way.
Although these supplements are generally considered sage when taken in small amounts for the short term, there is always the rare possibility of a reaction.
Both nettles and quercetin can react with prescription drugs, so be sure to talk to your doctor first.
Bastyr student Kelsey Asplin has a tonic you can try:
Start with 8 oz of water.
Add 2 tbs apple cider vinegar.
Add 2 tbs or more of local honey (honey made by local bees is crucial because is contains local pollen)
Then stir, and drink!