Tips to Avoid the Spring Sneeze-fest

Given all of the wet weather we’ve had this year in San Diego the local flora is bursting with pollen and the wind is blowing it everywhere.   The pharmaceuticals designed to reduce your allergy symptoms may or may not help and the side affects are sometimes worse than the symptoms.

Airborne allergy symptoms include: recurrent sneezing, itchy nose, nasal congestion, itchy watery eyes, low energy, headaches and slow thinking.

Here are some tips to minimize your participation in the spring sneezefest:

  • Buy a Neti Pot and use it 1 to 2 times daily.  This is a nasal/sinus irrigator that has been used for thousands of years in the yoga traditions.  You can get one at Henry’s, Jimbo’s or Whole Foods.  It will become your new best friend!
  • To reduce mucous production and prevent further complications, such as catching a cold, sinus infection or bronchitis, avoid phlegm producing foods such as dairy products, alcohol and sugar.
  • If you’re having trouble breathing through your nose at night due to nasal inflammation try some Breathe Right strips.  You can find these at any drug store.  Several of my patients have had great success using these to open the nasal airways and sleep better at night.
  • Drink aromatic tea during the day.  Green tea is helpful but spearmint tea works even better.  I like to combine them.  Your nasal passages will clear and that heavy muzzy head sensation diminishes.  You can find tea with spearmint most natural food stores.  You might also add some orange or tangerine rind to it.  Citrus rind helps breakdown phlegm and the aromatic effect also helps to clear the nasal passages.
  • Get into the water!  If you surf, bodysurf or swim you now have another excuse to enjoy the ocean.  Spending time in the surf will give you the most natural and effective relief available to rinse out the nasal passages and calm irritated eyes.  Nature’s Neti Pot!
  • Chinese herbal formulas are very effective in reducing allergy symptoms.  Chinese formulas should match the patient’s symptoms and constitution to be effective.  That said, you’ll need a pattern diagnosis from an acupuncturist / herbalist to get your hands on the right formula.
  • Of course acupuncture is also helpful.  It helps regulate production of blood cells and improves immune function.  This includes regulation of cells that produce histamine.  Histamine is the stuff that triggers inflammation when your body detects allergens.  So this all means that acupuncture will make you more comfortable around spring time airborne allergens.


Let me know if you have any questions about these tips.  Although my main focus is sports/orthopedic work, I love helping people recover from upper respiratory issues including allergies.  So if the home remedies and pharmaceuticals aren’t doing the trick, come in to see me for acupuncture and herbs and you’ll feel a lot better.

Tips to Avoid the Spring Sneeze-fest

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