sneezes. and stuff.

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once upon a time there was a lucky girl who had never before experienced allergies in her lifetime… but sure enough, that luck eventually ran out and those allergies arrived at last creating such a damper on her love for spring.

how does one live with allergies?
please do tell.
i can’t sleep. i can’t smell. and most importantly, i find it difficult to breathe.
thank you.
photo of a pretty flower tree down the street from our home.
  1. Jessica

    I LOVE tylenol severe allergy, but it knocks me out to the point where I pass out. What works for me is using generic 10mg of loratadine (it's just claritin) – take it year round – works like a charm!

  2. Morgan

    Clariton D is my savior. Good luck! :)

  3. Lauren

    I use a prescription allergy pill (a once a day) combined with a neti pot. Those two together are amazing!

  4. ALLEGRA – the only thing that works!! Welcome to DC – the worst my allergies have ever been have been living here!

  5. Jenn

    Welcome to DC is right – seems that everyone who moves here develops allergies at some point!

    Mine started after having lived here for four years. Just randomly, one spring.

    Zyrtec worked for me for a while, then it started making me really sleepy. I now use Claritin.

    One thing I will say is – don't suffer! Try things til you find what works for you. The first year I had allergies, I refused to believe that I had developed them… and was miserable for months.

  6. Marisa

    oh, i know…i never ever had allergies until I lived in DC! I have heard that one eventually gets used to the DC pollen (after my first Spring, I was okay) Try some benadryl for sleeping- hope you feel better love!

  7. Kim

    My husband has THE worst allergies. He just started allergy shots but until those kick in he has a regiment that he follows. Zyrtec, nasal sprays and netti pot to flush it all out so he can breathe.

  8. Get a neti pot! Takes a little bit of getting used to, but it totally works. I use mine twice a day.

  9. my husband is all about natural remedies and swears by his nedi pot. you can pick one up at whole foods. it's a weird contraption, but it works for his spring allergies.

  10. Jenn

    I've had allergies my entire life, and am on shots for them even now. My best recommendation is to get an overthecounter antihistamine (I swear by Zyrtec b/c mine are so severe!), and take it at night before you go to bed. That keeps you from feeling the drowsiness but helps your body build immunities at the same time. Since you've never really had them, a netipot should work and help clean out your sinuses so you can enjoy the spring. Or today's forecast in GA… snow. :)

    PS Love your blog!!!!

  11. I know it sounds hookie but try sinus cleanses…they work wonders for me. And if it's really bad, I'll take 24 hour Clartin. Good luck!

  12. Hi! I usually just lurk – but I had to speak up when I saw this post! I use Benadryl at night (makes me sleep like a baby) and a neti pot. This is my magical combo.

    I've found that some allergy medications (particularly Allegra), while they work quite well, make me crabby! My husband is not a fan of this particular side effect. :) Therefore, I stick to plain ol' Benadryl and the Neti Pot.

  13. time to go to the allergist!
    instead of guessing which over the counter will work for you, your doctor will be able to give you a suggestion.
    Also, make sure to stock up on eyedrops, and the Neti Pot works wonders.

  14. I never had allergies til I was about 21. It just started one season. I feel ya! Maybe go to the doctor & get some allergy meds! They do work & help!

  15. Hi Naomi,

    I'm a pharmacy intern.

    Best bet over the counter is either Zyrtec or Claritin and Neti Pots are absolutely wonderful!

    You can always go to the local pharmacy and speak to your pharmacist. they're wonderful :)


  16. To help you sleep try breathe right strips. I know they look silly, but they work wonders. And Afrin nasal spray. These two things are LIFE SAVERS. In fact, I'm using both right now. I sleep through the whole night thanks to them.

    xo Danielle

  17. Ugh, I hate allergies…..I take Zertek and used to get allergy shots every week. which I need to get back into….hope you feel better soon!!

  18. R.

    I always use Claritin D and it never fails to knock my allergy problems out the door. Target's generic Claritin works just as well if you want to save a little money! xo

  19. J.Loo

    Um, I pretty much don't get to enjoy the outdoors as much as I would like to. I have taken so many different allergy medications that my body has pretty much built up an immunity to them. The only one that's powerful enough to work for me is Zyrtec D.

    The best advice I can give you is stay away from heavily floral areas or trees that are shedding their pollen/flowers/cotton fiber things. If you touch any plant life NEVER touch your face, or you'll be sorry. OH, and carry tissues with you everywhere you go. :]

  20. Claritan D or Zyrtec (generics), generic mucinex, perscription nasal allergy medicine (such as flonase), neti pot (before nasal spray), and if it's really bad a once or twice use of afrin. It's insane…

  21. naomi, i was SO the same…never suffered from allergies until my mid-twenties. what a bummer!

    i usually use ALAVERT, it's a dissolving tablet and works wonderfully (you can get it at any pharmacy over the counter) for more severe allergies, i use the nasonex spray prescribed by my doctor…this is only in dire need cases when i wake up and my eyes are puffy and nose is red :)

    hope that helps!

  22. I have a hard time too and the fall was awful. Go see an allergist. They can give you good sprays and tell you what you are allergic too. I did that in the fall and it really helped me to feel better.

    Good luck and thanks for blogging. Tell Josh hi for me.

    I am still loving NY and working at the ad agency and still helping out with the theatre.

    I hope all is well and your dog is so cute. Now every time I see one in NY I think of ya'll!


  23. I have a hard time too and the fall was awful. Go see an allergist. They can give you good sprays and tell you what you are allergic too. I did that in the fall and it really helped me to feel better.

    Good luck and thanks for blogging. Tell Josh hi for me.

    I am still loving NY and working at the ad agency and still helping out with the theatre.

    I hope all is well and your dog is so cute. Now every time I see one in NY I think of ya'll!


  24. Maddy

    I have had allergies my whole life… now they aren't so bad, I usually just can't breathe in the mornings (haha) but my mom & my roommate get them too and they swear by Claritin & Flonase (I think this one might be prescription only, though)

  25. Claritin and Nansonex! I suggest going to the doctor and get tested. (I had an MRI done of my sinuses) I found out that I am not really highly allergic to anything in particular. My nasal cavity/sinuses just have a hard time clearing things out, which causes stuffiness/runny nose/runny eyes. Good Luck!!!

  26. Jenny G

    Daily dose of allergy meds! I have always had bad allergy problems, but I hate taking meds unless I absolutely have to. This year, I have to! And I do feel much better every day because of it!

  27. Eden

    generic allergy meds! (way cheaper) i hate spring allergies. mine are terrible right now too. :( BOO!

  28. I was attacked by alergies for the first time this year too. I take an immune system booster and it seems to help.

  29. BP


  30. Coming from a girl who has been allergic to almost EVERYTHING since birth, i swear by Zyrtec. Claritin does NOTHING for me, Allegra was good, but expensive and you need a prescription, Zyrtec is small, easy to take, works wonders, and doesn't make me drowsy.

    If all that doesn't work, you might consider seeing an allergist for allergy shots. I'm currently getting them and am actually able to go outside this spring!!

    hope this helps. : )

    (Someone else may have said this, but I didn't read through the comments!) It's a life saver. I have the WORST seasonal allergies – constant splitting/nauseating headaches, sneezing, congestion. I do it morning and night and take a Claritin. Life saver!

  32. exactly the reason I'm not necessarily looking forward to spring… I used to be so happy before my allergies came to live with me… have you tried Hayfever pills? and nose spray?

  33. marie

    i got allergy shots
    and now
    like magic i have no more allergies!

  34. Mary

    tips from my doc once we moved back to maryland: take regular zyrtec (24 hour) every day for the season. when it gets really bad, take a zyrtec d. also, try to incorporate local honey into your diet to build up an immunity. good luck!

  35. Allergies are the worst! I used the target brand of claritin and it works wonders. Plus it's cheap. Without it I would not be able to function in the spring.

    Good luck!

  36. DWJ

    If you're not big on taking pills try a Netti Pot, one of those low pressure nasal saline rinses. They can help clear the pollen out of your nose and help you breath again. I'm very drug sensitive and the netti pot has been my saving grace. You can find it at drugstores.

  37. I've always had spring allergies and I think it's getting worse and worse if I don't take pills to prevent myself from sneezing, crying, breathing hardly…oh well.
    What I do is I usually get started with my meds beginning of March so that my body gets used to the meds and everything is supposed to be fine.
    We'll see what happens here, Spring is not definitely here yet :)

  38. i have crazy allergies myself. last year my doctor finally told me the secret … he said that i can't just take allergy medicine when i have an attack. pick an allergy medicine that works for you (i use zertec but my family likes claritin and tylenol cold/allergy) and take it every single day during the allergy season. i live in nc and started taking it about a week ago (when things started to bloom) and i have had no trouble so far. the thing is you HAVE to get it in your system in order to prevent allergies from starting.

    also, i use a neti pot to help clear out my sinuses and allergies. it works wonders.

    i've also heard what Mary said above about buying local honey (whole foods or from any local honey farm) the honey from the local bees in your area help you build an immunity to the pollen in the air.

    good luck!

  39. Ms. A

    Hands down…Allegra-D!

  40. I have to agree with all of the neti-pot advice!

    I've suffered with allergies my whole life and the past 6 months have been sooo much better b/c I started using a neti-pot twice daily. I use zyrtec and do allergy shots as well but I KNOW the neti-pot is the biggest help!!

  41. clariton d 24-hr has worked by far the best for me. i used to need one every day until i gave a day without one a try and did alright. now once the flowers start a bloomin' i see how i feel when i wake up. i don't need one every day. try it and good luck! spring is still beautiful. aren't you glad it's finally here??

  42. zyrtec. you can get it over the counter now. and benadryal at night when its really bad. try a humidifier too!

  43. remember that sugar makes everything worse for your body to cope. when i had a horrible sinus infection- i ate like a rabbit and cured it without any antibiotics!

    eat as healthy as you can. and try to see if he suggests anything!


  44. Zyrtec – And you can get it at Costco for cheap!

    Good luck and Happy Spring!

  45. I've used prescription Flonase for years now. Changed my life. Just ask your doctor, he'll give you something and if that doesn't work for you, then you he or she will have you try something else. Not everything works for everybody, like, I first tried Claritan D, and it did nothing for me. But it still works for other people.

  46. my allergies change so much, i have them horribly in Ohio, but not in Utah at all. It's so crazy. so the DC air must finally be catching up to you!, I don't know! Sorry!

  47. i've been suffering from pollen allergies for years now and as much as i wanted to be excited about spring, it's the WORST time for me. claritin d-24 hour offers me some relief (but it has to be "d" and 24 hours). believe me, i feel your pain!

  48. Lindsay

    Be sure to wash your pillow case often. The pollen gets in your hair and then on the pillow case. That, or wash your hair at night. It should help with sleepy time!

  49. Caty

    I am SO sorry! As gross as it may sound, I live by a nasal cleanser during allergy season. It rinses out your sinus passages with mild salt water and it is a MIRACLE WORKER.

  50. Zyrtec D is great, but it kept my husband and i from sleeping!

    We use regular zyrtec now…
    i still sneeze like a champ. So i'm needing something better too!

  51. Annie

    Allegra works wonders, and it doesn't make me drowsy!

    Just go to your regular doctor to get meds. I think you will regret going to an allergist. It's a painful experience, and they'll just tell you what you already know (you're allergic to pollen!)

    Also, invest in some good tissues with lotion to save your nose. Well worth it.

  52. Emily

    generic claritin (loratadine) and taking showers after spending a lot of time outside helps me. I'll still take spring allergies over winter!

  53. I have had bad allergies all my life like a lot of other people and this is what I do. I don't really like to take pills because they either make me drowsy or mean so I take sudifed for the day which clears up my nose so i can breath. then I always always carry the large costco bottle of eye drops because no matter what my eyes will itch. I also carry nose spray even though it gives me a bloody nose sometimes. At night I always take benedryl ( i don't know how to spell it) especially when camping!! it is a real life saver. it makes camping so nice because if I don't take it I am up all night with a full runny nose and itchy eyes. Good luck.

  54. Rach

    I used to have the worst allergies I couldn't even see because my eyes would swell up and I couldn't go outside. I did Homeopathic remedies and it was like I didn't even have allergies. You should try them.

  55. I use a combo of Zyrtec and Flonase. It works for me, but it took several prescriptions to figure out what works. Best thing to do is go to the dr, they will be able to pinpoint your specific allergies.

  56. I just started getting allergies within the last few years too. So not fun!

  57. KateM3

    I too was a non-allergic until our second spring in San Francisco, when all of a sudden I was a sneezy, watery-eyed monster. Zyrtec was my savior! It's non-prescription now, so pick some up at Target (I use the generic Costco brand which works wonders, too!) and take it every day from March-summer or fall.

  58. Rojas

    over the counter zyrtec works wonders for my family…including my 11 year old son!

  59. I second the neti pot suggestion. Unlike meds, you won't have bad side effects and my doctor recommended it to me herself. It takes a few times to get used to it but once you relax a bit it feels very nice and provides relief aka being about to breathe again. Lastly, definitely use salted water!

  60. Britti

    I used to take black-cumin-oil (you can buy it in a health food store) but when it got worse, especially with the breathing my doc gave me cortisone for about a week (in that short time you don't have adverse effects) and it was completly gone for the rest of the year (i have allergies from may until september).
    Hope you'll get better soon!

  61. Oh Sister, I hear you. I'm dealing with the exact same thing. Never been through this ridiculous business before. Hang in there. I've been hearing you should drink loads of water and exercise (?). Love your stories.

  62. JKreids

    cute post. :)

    two words: neti pot

    feel better!

  63. Zyrtec. I'm so grateful it's available over the counter now. I always take one in the morning first thing cause they take an hour or so to kick in, but It's a life saver!

  64. eh.. I feel for ya! I have allergies and i've had them all my life, I HATE THEM! I've tried lots of different things, but Flonase works really well for me! Hopefully you can find something that works good for you, so you can start enjoying the spring!!

  65. ag

    medications are good (zyrtec works for me) but there are other tricks to help the suffering. shower at night before bed. gets all the pollen off your hair and person so it doesn't get on your pillow and affect your sleep. vacuum and sweep and wash bedding often. it helps, i swear it!

  66. Tatiana

    I live in Oregon and it used to be between April and July I couldn't even step out of my apartment without triggering an allergy attack, so I know how you feel! Try Flonase, I started it last spring and for the first time in years, didn't have any allergies! Not a single sneeze! Seriously, nothing else has worked until I started that. Good luck!

  67. Hey,
    Try eating locally produced honey. The bees feed off the pollen in your local area. The more you eat, the more your tolerance for that pollen builds up! Natural…. and yummy. Worth a try :-) x

  68. Jaymie

    Saw your TWITTER page… I woke up this morning and MY door was wide open too!! What a coincidence! I just love your blog. Your adorable. Thanks for being an amazing example of a strong woman. If I lived in DC….. I think we would be good friends :)

  69. I'm so lucky, because I have no allergy in my life. so I thought It would be so worst when someone was being..

    but I do believe they would get well if they check and drink some medicines to kick the allergy out. just try! :)

  70. i am only 12 years old but i have had breathing issues my whole life. i have horrible allergies!!! i use a breathing machine which cleans out my lungs(my doctor gave it to me) and then i use claritin. i get allergies then break out in a rash and when i use claritin i get rid of the rash in 2 days and my nose cleans out like nothing.
    my ddad uses a neti pot because he had nose surgery. i can say i have used it to and it works. but it makes you nose be dripping all day.:( good luck!!!!:)

  71. Melissa

    Get a netti pot. They're the best ever! Looks like a little teapot, and you put saline solution in it and it naturally helps. =) Hope you feel better

  72. I never had allergies until I moved to Utah. It can be HORRIBLE! I have learned you need to get some allergy medicine, and you can't just take it when you feel bad. It has to be an every day thing for awhile. I would stop taking it once I felt better and then it would just come RIGHT back. SO I would try some different allergy medicines, find what works for you and take them regularly during the season.

  73. I agree with everyone saying Neti Pot: it rules. For night bendryl can be ok, but be careful. It makes me TOTALLY hyper and I can't sleep. I take Nyquil when it's really bad.

    Here's a good, natural way for a quick fix: boil some water and throw in some fresh/dried rosemary (or rosemary oil) and once it's really boiling, put your head under a towel and breathe in the steam. It keeps you breathing for hours.

    I'm sorry you're feeling lousy. Allergies are the. worst.

  74. Yuck. I hate allergies. I've had them since I was a kid and they are the worst. Learn to make friends with Tylenol Allergy Daytime, it's a life-saver.

  75. la

    Neti Pots ROCK!
    P.S. That's a magnolia bloom. Gorgeous!

  76. I don't know if someone already said this, but I work for a Dr. who does allergy testing and immunotherapy. You basically take "maintanence serum" every morning by putting a drop under your tongue (like vitamin D). Our pt's love it!

  77. i'm not sure if someone else mentioned this before, seeing as how i am not about to read 80 posts just to check, husband buys local honey and takes a spoonful a day of it. and it works, surprisingly!

  78. My allergies were horrible last year and zyrtec, claritin and allegra all failed me and left me a miserable, running nose, sneezing, watering eyes mess.

    Flonase was the only thing I used that actually worked. I could finally enjoy spring and summer. I think my boyfriend was a lot happier too, I'm quite the snorer when I'm all stuffed up with allergies. Only down side is its not over the counter, you need a prescription, oh and you have to take it everyday for it to work.

    I also heard an article the other day that contracting hook worms cures allergies and asthma but I'm not sure it's worth it.

  79. Leah

    2 words: NETI POT!!!

  80. Emily

    Neti Pot and Nasonex. Dynamic Duo.

  81. emily

    Oh, allergies are the worst. The thing that works best for me is a weird concoction of apple cider vinegar, water and a little honey. It sounds (and smells!) disgusting, but it truly works wonders, plus vinegar has other great health benefits! Be sure to get the kind of vinegar with 'the mother' included: Bragg's is a good choice. Good luck!!

  82. Its amazing to read some of these comments, I've been suffering with SEVERE allergies for a little over a year now, and it sucks!! I'm 18 living in Las Vegas (been here ALL my life) and suddenly two springs ago got a VERY bad case of hives. It got sooo bad my throat was closing up on me and I ended up in the hospital. It was sooo scary. It was really difficult but eventually I was able to see a doctor(there is usually a waiting list) and I now take xyzol once everyday and shots two to three times a week. Turns out I'm allergic to basically every plant here! Sometimes when it's really bad I take benedryll also, but it makes you sleepy. Hope you start feeling better!

  83. oh sister, I've had horrific sinuses for a couple weeks now!

    Last night my mother shows up with more sinus medicine and a NETI POT from Walgreens.

    Neti Pot is now the LOVE OF MY LIFE.

    Try it!! I've decided to do it right before bed so I can actually get some rest! It works!

    ♥ feel better

  84. oh sister, I've had horrific sinuses for a couple weeks now!

    Last night my mother shows up with more sinus medicine and a NETI POT from Walgreens.

    Neti Pot is now the LOVE OF MY LIFE.

    Try it!! I've decided to do it right before bed so I can actually get some rest! It works!

    ♥ feel better

  85. all these comments are totally selling me on the neti-pot! but during my last year of college, I started getting SEVERE eye allergies during spring and I moved to D.C. and it was worse.

    :( I had to move away. Great advice from everyone else though–wish I had seen this before!

    -Jane @ Brunch at the Beach

  86. Pretty sure I've tried everything under the sun, including 5 years of immunity shots. But last year I did find something that seemed to help that was rather alternative–you spray it into your elbow three times a day–but it seems to help when combined with antihistamines. The only problem for you is that I bought it in Germany. If you want some, let me know and I'll send you some!

  87. Oh, P.S. It's called Spenglersan Kolloid K.

  88. Amy

    A neti pot also works really great for me. Used to live in a constantly medicated state in the spring and fall. Now, I only neti. Phew!

  89. caitlin

    2 claritin and 2 nasal decongestants. i suffer big time and thats the most successful cocktail i have come up with

  90. Melynne

    netti pot!!

  91. aw i know i'm late to the comment party but i have the worst allergies, i finally got tested about two weeks ago and was in pain even through the test! the lady said i'm pretty much allergic to every tree/fungus/and grass that grows in north carolina. zyrtec and those don't work that well for me so she suggested getting synthesized. huge long explanation but i'd love to tell you more. the one thing that works the best are the zyrtec liquid drops. make you a bit drowsy but they're the best i've found:) feel better hun.

  92. jo

    over the counter pills…=(

    but it really depends on how severe (or how much you can "ignore") your symptoms.

    also try nasal rinses! it helps for me. I use the plastic bottle kind (where it comes with salt packets).

  93. I use NeilMed sinus rinse system. It seems to work much better than a Neti Pot for me. And the best thing is that it is a drug free solution.

  94. tori

    Looks like you already have lots of suggestions, but I thought I'd share mine too. I have had severe allergies forever, and I have even developed sinus infections and bronchitis from them! Now I take Zyrtec (I tried Claritin for a while, didn't work for me) EVERY NIGHT (cuz it makes me tired) and use a neti pot every once in a while.. at least once a week.